Employees unions and IBA reach an agreement on wages and holidays on Saturdays
GN Bureau | February 23, 2015
The nation can heave a sigh of relief as public sector banks employees' have decided to withdraw the four day scheduled from February 25. This follows an agreement with the Indian Banks Association (IBA) to increase wages by 15%, on Monday. The 15 percent hike is on the pay slip components (like basic salary, dearness allowance) and does not include other components.
The twenty-eight public sector banks in the country have a combined employee strength of about eight lakh.
The unions had threatened the strike to press wage-hike demand. The wage revision of the employees is due since November 2012. Earlier, unions had deferred one-day strike of January 7 as IBA improved the wage-hike offer to 12.5 per cent from 11 percent. They also postponed a four-day strike from January 21. In December the unions had struck work for four days on rotation from December 2.
Most state-run banks have been reporting huge losses or steep decline in net profit amid rising bad loans and record low credit growth.
IBA had earlier offered a 13 percent hike which will put a burden of Rs 4,095 crore on the banks, against the unions' demand of 19.5 percent hike which would increase the salary bill by Rs 10,000 crore per annum.
The unions are also demanding a five-day week as in other public sector undertakings and regulated banking hours against the present system of not having defined working hours for officers.
However, the five-day week was not acceptable to the government, and regulated hours were not feasible either as the daily work has to be completed anyway.
Monday's agreement gives bank staff full holiday on second and fourth Saturdays and the bank would work full days on the other remaining Saturdays in a month.
Only a bank that fears losing its deposit base or incurring the wrath of its shareholders is likely to recognise losses in a timely manner. In many of our banks, such market discipline is simply not present at the moment, said RBI deputy governor Viral V Acharya.
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