About 10 lakh bank employees to go on strike on 22-23 August
Moneylife Digital Team 20 August 2012

Employees from around 47 banks are planning to go on a two-day strike on 22nd-23rd August to protest the proposed reforms in the banking sector and outsourcing of jobs

Around 10 lakh bank employees and officers working in 27 public sector banks including State Bank of India (SBI) and 12 old generation private sector banks and eight foreign banks will resort to two days nationwide strike on 22nd and 23rd August, says United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). UFBU is the umbrella organisation of five employee unions and four officer unions of state-run banks in the country.
The Chief Labour Commissioner has called the bank union on 21st August for a conciliation meeting on strike notice, the statement added.
The UFBU said it is against the proposed banking sector reforms, unilateral imposition of the Khandelwal committee report and want appointment on compassionate ground. 
"The banking reform measures are retrograde but the government is still pursing the same and hence our protest," the statement said.
The Banking Laws Amendment Bill, 2011, which is before Parliament, contains provisions such as raising of shareholders' voting rights from 10% to 26% in private banks and suppression of bank boards.
There are about 87,000 branches of public sector banks across the country. The state-owned lenders control about 75% banking business.
UFBU is opposed to recommendations of the Khandelwal Committee which was appointed by Central Government to suggest changes in Human Resource policies in the banks. Here are the points raised by the UFBU...
1. From 1950s, we have common wages and service conditions.  Now, this committee has recommended Bank specific wage structure based on profitability, productivity etc.
2. All these years we have uniform wage and service conditions.  Now, the committee wants introduction of fixed and variable pay concept.  A portion of wage will be fixed and balance will vary according to performance.  This is impracticable in the banking sector and will result in division of employees and promote sycophancy.
3. The committee has also recommended that settlements with unions on transfer of employees to be reviewed and to give free hand to the managements to transfer employees from place to place.
4. The Committee has suggested 50% of officer vacancies should be filled directly from the market instead of promoting clerks.  This will seriously affect the career of employees.
5. The report says that minimum qualification for appointing a clerk should be graduation.  All these years, matriculates are eligible to join the Banks.  Now, lakhs and lakhs of such unemployed youth will be deprived the opportunity.
6. Similarly, so far, the qualification to join the banks as peon / class IV employee is 8th Standard failed.  The committee says that it should be matriculation.  This is also absurd.
7. The Report says that Banks should not make any appointments in the urban areas but workload in the banks warrants the same.
8. The committee has suggested outsourcing of all the regular bank jobs which is unfair labour practice.  
"All these measures are anti-employee and anti-trade union and they are targeted to attack collective bargaining. Further overlooking the settlement the Government is giving unilateral guidelines on various service conditions. UFBU is opposed to such unilateralism," the bank unions have said.
UFBU would held massive rallies in all district places and cities across the country. "In Mumbai there will be rally at the Azad Maidan on 22nd and 23rd August, said Vishwas Utagi, general secretary, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). 

Nine unions, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation Of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation Of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation Of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation Of Bank Officers (NOBO) have given the call for strike under the UBFU umbrella.
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