THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEBRUARY 1:
British economist John Maynard Keynes’ work has often been the favourite plank for governments and economists trying to come terms with recessions and depressions.
But now, he has become a rallying point for bank officers negotiating with the Indian Banks’ Association for regulated working hours and a five-day week.
Keynes had famously let known his views on what constituted the ‘work week.’ Aggrieved bank officers say that the model followed in India represents the worst form of repression.
Keynes had predicted as early as in 1928 that by 2030, technological advances would allow people to work for no more than 15 hours a week.
Bank officers say this time may have already come. Technology has led to pruning of bank staff and has driven up work load like never before. Officers say, they need a longer weekend to wind down.
A 10-year embargo on recruitment and introduction of voluntary retirement schemes has made matters only worse.
Thousands of bank branches have just one office in charge. Today, it has become common for officers to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The cheque truncation system has reduced the number of holidays and those working in the clearing system have to work late and also on holidays.
Also, new targets such as the one under the Jan Dhan Yojana, linkage of Aadhaar cards and I-T collections are being set. On many occasions, banks have to keep branches open on holidays. According to those negotiating, almost 40 per cent of the staff is young and five-day week is a passion for them. Without such perks and a good salary, will be impossible to retain good talent.
Officers say this will not affect customers, as according to RBI data around 62 per cent of bank transactions were handled by alternate channels as on March 31, 2014. This percentage is increasing every month.