With this wage pact, IBA has averted the bank strike that the trade unions had called from February 25
The understanding that bank managements and trade unions reached on Monday on a 15 per cent wage hike and second and fourth Saturday off every month will bring cheer to lakhs of employees of all public sector banks, some private sector banks and a few foreign banks.
Banking sector trade unions have managed to convince bank managements to reward bank employees with a wage hike and two Saturday’s off in a month after protracted wage revision negotiations that stretched for over two years.
While banks will remain closed on second and fourth Saturday, other Saturday’s will be full working days. Once public sector banks’ close for business on two Saturday’s a month, all other banks will follow suit. The unions had originally demanded a five-day week.
The proliferation of alternate banking channels such as ATMs, internet banking and mobile banking in the last few years seems to have convinced bank managements, under the aegis of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), to agree to second and fourth Saturday off every month.
Given the technology that is at play in banking, two Saturday’s off in a month is unlikely to cause inconvenience bank customers, said a top public sector bank official.
According to C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association, the 15 per cent hike, which is excluding superannuation benefits, hospitalisation expenses, leave travel concession, etc, is on the payslip component.
This hike will amount to a collective outgo of Rs. 4,725 crore per year for the 45 banks that are part of the 10th industry-wide bipartite five-year wage (2012-2017) settlement exercise.
In the previous (9th) bipartite wage settlement, covering 2007-2012, an average wage hike of around 17.5 per cent (entailing a collective outgo of Rs. 2,980 crore a year for banks) was given.
In the last two years or so, unions had gone on strike four occasions to press for their demand for wage revision and improvement in work and service conditions. Following the conclusion of the wage negotiations, the four day strike call, which was to begin from February 25, has been called off by Unions.
Announcing the conclusion of the 10th bipartite wage negotiations with bank unions and associations, TM Bhasin, Chairman, Indian Banks’ Association, said both sides (bank managements and unions) agreed to work out detailed bipartite settlement/ joint note within a period of 90 days.
Venkatachalam said “the wage increase and two Saturday’s off in a month will motivate employees to perform better and encourage them to further improve customer service.” Almost 8.50 lakh employees in the banking sector are expected to benefit from the wage settlement.