CLERKS AND OFFICERS – DISPARITY EXISTS IN THE CADRE ITSELF
It appears that one my earlier proposals on wage revision has rattled and infuriated some of my friends in the Clerical cadre. Therefore, with a view to dispel their misgivings and present a true picture, I have written this brief article.
A peculiar argument is presented by some of our friends that since the Clerks and the Officers in banks possess the same or equal academic qualifications, both must be paid wages without much difference. This is contrary to the well established norms of fixing of wages basing on the cadre disparity which is a universal practice, regardless of the industry/field.
Does a lecturer and a professor possessing the same qualification and serving in the same college/institution get equal pay and other benefits?
Does a scientist and a bureaucrat with the same/similar qualification and serving in the same institution get the same pay?
Does a reporter and a sub-editor with the same qualification and working in the same newspaper agency get the same pay?
Answer is a firm ‘No’. That is the reality.
One must understand these basic things.
- One’s educational qualification helps one to choose and take up a profession. That’s all.
Thus, the academic qualification is just like a passport.
- Once a person is employed, following aspects of one’s job profile determine his compensation package.
- Position in the organizational hierarchy in which one is currently placed
- Nature and Extent of Knowledge (theoretical and practical) required for such position
- Varieties of Experience gained that are considered relevant to the present role
- Different types of Roles handled in the past (sometimes outside the present organisation too)
- Risks and Responsibilities in the new position
- Importance attached to the position – within the organization or outside
- Overall contribution anticipated from the current role, for the growth, development and progress of the organisation
- Prestige and Social Status attached to the Role, Position and Job Profile
Therefore, it does not make any sense to demand equal pay and allowances for Clerks, as compared to the Officers in banks. The role play, responsibilities, hours of work and risks shouldered by Clerks and Officers are totally different and cannot be compared at all.
Therefore, mere commonality of qualification cannot equate their pay and allowances.
I shall explain further.
- Consider the present basic pay of Sub-staff, Clerk and Officers – at the minimum and maximum of their pay scales.
- Substaff – Rs.5,850 (Min.) to Rs.14,150 (Max.)
- Clerks - Rs.7,200 (Min.) to Rs.24,900 (Max.)
- Officers (in JMGS I) - Rs.14,500 (Min.) to Rs.25,700 (Max.)
If these are expressed in the form of ratios –
Substaff: Clerks: Officers = 1 : 1.23 : 2.48 (minimum) and 1 : 1.76 : 1.82 (maximum)
- As compared to 3rd BPS, the starting Basic Pay of Substaff, Clerks and Officers after 9th BPS has risen to 23.88 times, 21.92 times and 20.71 times respectively.
- A senior Clerk working in a metro branch is already getting more than 90% of the salary of a JMGS I officer with 20 years service, 80% of the salary of an MMGS II officer with 15 years service and 75% of the salary of an officer in MMGS III grade with 10 years experience.
- Added to it, the clerks in banks work for 36½ hours per week and the officers work for 46 hours per week, on a conservative estimate.
- Therefore, even if we pay only pro-rata salaries to the officers for the extra hours worked at 100% of their normal wages, the officers deserve 1.26 times their present salary. If they are paid overtime wages for the extra hours worked, they will get more because for the extra hours worked, they will get overtime wages at 150% to 200% of the ordinary wages (not 100%). This is based on the hours of work alone.
- It means the officers are to be paid not less than 26% increase in their present wages for working extra hours. But, this shall not be confused with the impending wage revision. Wage revision is common for people in every rank and grade.
- Award staff are more time conscious rather than task conscious. In the late afternoons, it is very common to see them leaving the office, saying the time is up. They do not even finish the job on hand and leave it abruptly, for any of the officers to complete it.
- Punctuality in attendance is not known to more than 30% of the award staff.
- Availing leave without prior notice is also very common among them.
- Clerks are not subjected to frequent transfers like their officer colleagues. If at all they are transferred, they are transferred within a short radius of say 50 KMs only.
- I know many clerks who have accumulated more wealth (through legal means) than their officer friends, only because of the transfer factor.
- They do not shoulder any risks and they don't want to take even simple, harmless decisions and they avoid responsibilities (e.g. they do not want to receive courier covers; they do not want to answer telephone calls; they do not want to hold even a spare set of premises keys; they do not want to sign counterfoils of the pay-in-slips deposited with transfer/clearing cheques (All these have been listed as their duties in the bipartite settlement itself).
- They unnecessarily refer each and every customer/visitor to the Manager/Sub-Manager for trivial matters.
- Many of them quarrel with the customers and for their action, the managers are forced to apologise to the customers.
- It may be remembered that only because of the irresponsible, nonchalant and arrogant behaviour of many award staff in the past (until 1990s), we are suffering now. We are paying a heavy price today. We bankers earned the jealousy, enmity, hatred, curse and condemnation of each and every section of the society, the media and the government as a consequence.
- The present generation bankers are yet to come out of this hostile environment even today.
- Even the employees in other organizations (Government departments/PSUs/ Corporate Sector) do not have any sympathy for us (bankers collectively).
- In spite of all of these, the settlement of award staff is reached first every time and only basing on their settlement, something extra is added and given to the officers as a separate package.
- Therefore, if at all the bank clerks want to fight for higher wages, they should ask their leaders first, instead of comparing themselves with their officer colleagues, without any valid reasons.
- They should not nurture any grudge against the officers as if they (the Officers) have deprived them (the Clerks) of their due share. It is totally untrue and hence unjust.
In the current circumstances, the existing Basic Pay (which is paltry) of bank staff is a huge stumbling block in revising it beyond a point. Even an increase of 100% in the Basic Pay appears to be a tall order.
For this, the entire blame has to be laid at the doors of our Trade Union leaders who made very serious compromises in the 8th and 9th BPS.
I wait with my fingers crossed.
Date: 09-08-2013 V Subramanian