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Eighth bipartite wage settlement — IBA places counter-demands

R.Y. Narayanan

COIMBATORE, Sept. 30

THE bipartite discussion for wage revision of bank employees, due to begin later next month, looks to become a protracted affair with the Indian Banks Association (IBA), the umbrella organisation of bank managements, placing a set of counter-demands to the one submitted by the All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) regarding wage revision.

IBA has sought to place a string of demands including a drastic cut in the number days of casual leave (CL) that could be availed of in a year and a ban on strike by a section of employees working in crucial departments, which are likely to stir up employees' emotions.

The General Secretary of AIBEA, Mr Tarakeswar Chakraborti, in a circular to the members, stated that the seventh bipartite settlement was due to expire on October 31. AIBEA, in the first week of June, had submitted to IBA, the demands of revision of wages and other service conditions `as adopted in the Thiruvananthapuram general council meeting and amended in consultation with other organisations for the sake of formulation of a common set of demands'.

He said IBA had sent a list of `management issues' stating that it was not exhaustive and may be amended or added during the course of discussions. IBA has tentatively set the talks to begin in the third week of October.

The management issues placed by IBA covers 18 subjects, some of which may draw sharp opposition from the employees. IBA has sought the abolition of all special pay carrying posts in clerical and sub-staff cadres and transfer and deployment of workmen will be in terms of provisions of para 536 of Sastry Award in supercession of all bank level settlements relating to transfer/deployment. Each bank shall have the discretion to decide the scope and extent of computerisation/mechanisation of operations, including back office operations, IBA has said.

It said under the `Single Window' system, employees manning the counter shall handle all types of transactions as decided by the management including payment and receipt of cash. It also sought rationalisation of LTC/LFC facility as regards eligibility, entitlement and coverage and rationalisation of special leave facility available to office bearers of workmen unions.

IBA also sought to treat `restrictive practices in any form' as acts prejudicial to the interests of the banks and sought reduction in the number of days of casual leave to eight in a year. It wanted watch and ward staff and employees responsible for round-the-clock maintenance of computers and related systems not to participate in any form of strike or agitation. Prior permission of the bank should be obtained by a workman in case of borrowings from other than `approved outside sources'.

The IBA list also includes provision for premature retirement of a workman in public interest on or anytime after completion of 55 years of age or 30 years of service, whichever is earlier, provision for voluntary cessation of employment, provision for annual submission of statement of assets and liabilities by workmen and provision for termination of service without notice where the caste/community certificate submitted by a workman employee for the purpose of employment is held as invalid/false.

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