Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jun 27, 2005
Money & Banking
Transfer is sticky issue in insurance wage talks
Chennai , June 26
IT is the transfer and mobility issue that is holding up a wage settlement in public sector insurance companies. A new wage settlement has been due since August 2002.
The managements of the four companies, represented by the General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA), want the power to transfer employees to places where they face a deficit of manpower.
The labour unions say they do not have any objection provided proper studies are done and the deficit areas are clearly defined.
GIPSA has proposed a policy that would allow employees posted in metros to be transferred within a radius of 250 km and for employees in non-metro areas to places within regional areas. Such transferred employees would get a "disturbance allowance" and would also be able to get a request transfer back to the original station of posting after three years subject to availability of vacancies.
The unions say that Class I officers are transferred even now. For Class II employees, the unions argue that transfers are unworkable, since these officers would be in charge of mobilising business through agents and need to build a rapport with them.
As for Class III (workmen/assistants) category, unions say there is no need for a transfer since they do not take any decisions or have financial powers.
Recently, bank unions and the Indian Banks' Association signed an agreement that would allow for transfer of clerks within a radius of 100 km or in the same district.
When asked about the 250-km limit, Mr A.K. Singhal, Vice-President (HR), GIPSA, said, "The distribution network of insurance companies is much smaller compared to that of the banks. So we need that much more latitude in terms of transferring employees to deficit pockets."
The insurance companies' offer of an 8.5 per cent increase in wages has been rejected by the Unions. It is learnt that the insurers would be hiking the offer in the next round of talks to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday. Productivity-linked incentives will be worked out over and above the wage revision.
Bank employees got a 13.3 per cent increase in wages. "The unions want parity with the wage levels that prevail in the Life Insurance Corporation of India," said Mr J. Gurumurthy, Secretary of the Standing Committee (All India Insurance Employees Association).
He said that historically, the wage levels in both the general insurance companies and LIC were at par except for a few allowances. The unions wanted that parity to be continued, he said.
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