Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Sep 25, 2002
Money & Banking
Trade & Labour Unions
Eighth bipartite wage settlement IBA, union talks on Oct 18
Sarbajeet K. Sen
NEW DELHI, Sept. 24
THE whistle has been blown for commencement of the much-awaited bank wage talks for the Eighth Bipartite Settlement, with the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) formally inviting the workmen unions and the officers' associations for the formal talks on October 18 in Mumbai.
A communication from IBA to the unions has said that the Association's Chairman, Dr Dalbir Singh has constituted a negotiating committee to be headed by Chairman and Managing Director, Union Bank of India and Deputy Chairman, IBA, Mr V. Leeladhar, for holding negotiations with the bank employees' bodies.
The talks would determine the wage structure for five years beginning November 1, 2002, for about 7,57,000 employees working in 27 public sector banks, including officers and other staff.
While the talk with the workmen unions would be held in the morning of October 18, the officers' associations would meet the negotiating committee in the afternoon.
The IBA has, however, not given any indications on the stand it is likely to take during the talks. "This would be more off a sparring between the parties before hardcore negotiation start. There are still time for firm proposals from our side to emerge," an IBA official said.
However, the feelers sent by IBA to the unions during earlier informal interactions indicate that the bank managements would seek a quid-pro-quo from the staff in the form of freedom from union's intervention in matters relating to redeployment, transfers and computerisation against the wage hike that would be promised.
The unions have, however, already sent in their charter of demands for the talks to the IBA seeking an approximately 30-32 per cent rise hike over the wages fixed for the Seventh Settlement which comes to an end on October 31.
The demands of the both the representative bodies of the employees of the officers and clerical and other sub-staff are on similar lines since they have been drawn up under the umbrella banking trade union body the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU).
"There is always a gap between the initial demand made by the unions and the settlement that is reached ultimately. We will have to see where we finally settle since it would depend on the way the bargaining goes," Mr Tarakeswar Chakraborti, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), said. Mr Chakraborti has the unique experience of being involved in all eight industry-level Bipartite Settlements for the banking sector.
The Sixth and the Seventh Bipartite settlements had resulted in a 10.5 and 12.25 per cent hike over the previous negotiations, respectively.
However, he was categorical that the unions would take a tough stand on any demand from the management that could lead to loss of jobs. "Any proposal that would lead to endangering jobs and surrendering our existing rights would be opposed with all might," he said.
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