Wage revision of bank employees is due since November 2012 and the charter of demand was submitted to IBA and Ministry of Finance in July 2012. Government and its representative IBA has been postponing or avoiding even dialogue process for last ten months. It is sad that government understands the importance of any demand only when strikers burns the buses and trains, create road jams, blocks movement of train and what not. This has been seen in the case of strikers of other departments.
Government comes out of hibernation only when huge loss is incurred to exchequer. Ministers and the competent authority or labour commissioner have not understood the gravity of the matter, Genuinity of demand of bank employees, and seriousness of frustration among bank staff due to delay in wage settlement even after lapse of ten months after the charter of demand should not be taken lightly by government of India and the IBA, Indian Banks Association an body which takes part in negotiation with banker's united forum on the issue of wage revision or other relevant demands.
Government has not tried to assess, understand and realize that workload on bank employees have multiplied during last two decades due to almost ban or regulated policy adopted by government on employment in banks during eighties and nineties, large scale removal of employees under voluntary retirement scheme VRS of the year 2000, the continuous natural retirement, dismissal and death of bank employees without fresh recruitment of at least same number of employees.On the contrary wage structure of bank employees has faced continuous erosion in pay despite relentless price rise whereas there has been continuous and disproportionate higher rises in pay of central government and state government employees.
It is known to all that there has been technological upgradation in banks to a large extent during last five to six years. It was also made possible only by the hard labour done by experienced bank employees for more than 12 hours a day. Without disturbing customer service bankers took it a challenge, accepted new technology and converted most of the bank’s branches as CBS branch.
After adoption of Core Banking Solution ( called as CBS), Banks has introduced several other non-banking products like Insurance, demat service, share trading, selling of mutual fund products, tax collection, old age pension payment and many other products. It is only bank employees who accept newer and newer challenges and strive hard to please customers. It is unfortunate that bank employees are still in bad taste in corridors of Ministers. During last ten years number of bank staff has come down from 800000 to 700000 whereas number of branches has almost doubled.
It has to be kept in mind that there has been continuous wage erosion of bank employees during last two decades whereas on the contrary there has been quantum jump in the salary of state and central government employees through fifth and sixth pay commission report implementation. Frustration has been increasing among bank employees due to indifferent attitude of IBA and inordinate delay in completion of Xth Bipartite Settlement..
It is worthwhile to mention here that despite low wages and high work load it is banks which have been earning profit continuously and growing in profit year after year. On the contrary most of other businesses run by government are either showing loss or showing fall in profit or there is position of complete stagnation or on the verge of closure. Even companies like BSNL is likely to book loss to the tune of Rs10000/- crore and more. Indian airlines are running in losses in thousands of crores. All oil companies, fertilizer companies and many PSU are in losses and running on the aid and ventilator provided by Government. It is surprising that government had happily increased salary of even loss making companies by 30 to 60% through sixth pay commission on the eve of election just to enhance their vote bank and the same government thinks it fit to ignore genuine demand of 20% wage hike of bank employees on flimsy ground
Government instead of listening to banks argument in favour of their demand for at least 40% wage hike has been postponing dialogue on one plea or the other for ten months It is to kept in mind that bankers are dealing in money and any dilution in honesty, sincerity and devotion of bank employees may cause irreparable damage to intrinsic health of banks. As of now corruption in banks is undoubtedly lower than all other departments of Government and other PSUs. Exodus of quality people may be harmful to banks. It is an open secret that banks have been used by politicians to enlarge their vote banks.