Hyderabad, Oct 1 : In the context of the developments taking place subsequent to the announcement of the proposed closure of six public sector banks ---Andhra Bank, Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India under the guise of merger of 10 public sector banks by the Union Government as well as the developments relating to the negotiations for ensuing XI Bipartite Settlement, an emergent Central Committe (CC) meeting of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) was held at New Delhi on Monday.
AIBEA President Rajen Nagar presided over the meeting alongwith its Vice-Presidents J.P. Sharma, M.M. Rai, Nandu Chavan and Md. Nazir Qureshi. AIBEA General Secretary Ch Venkatachalam in a circular to all its units and members said, in view of the continued attacks of the BJP-led NDA Government to hurry up their agenda on labour reforms and alter the labour laws to the detriment of the workers and in favour of the employers, the Central Trade Unions had convened the National Convention of Workers at Parliament Street in New Delhi yesterday.
He said thousands of workers massively participated in this open rally and AIBEA also participated in this Convention along with various Trade Union Federations from other industries and sectors like insurance, postal, railways, telecom, Central and State Government services, college and school teachers, electricity and power sector, transport departments, coal and mines, iron and steel, oil sector, defence production, public sector undertakings etc.
The convention condemned the total apathy and indifference of the Government to the serious economic crisis that is threatening the country, which has resulted in huge job losses of the workers. Instead of boosting investments in social and public sector, the Government has been announcing concessions to the corporate sector.
The Convention also was highly critical of the Government’s policy of privatisation, corporatization, disinvestments, FDI etc., in various sectors including core sectors like defence, coal, insurance etc.
Mr Venkatachalam said the convention totally opposed the retrograde changes being made in the labour laws of the country and observed that the Government is persisting with the New Pension Scheme for the young employees, both in Government and other sectors instead of ensuring a guaranteed inflation-linked pension scheme for them.
It also took a serious view about the callous approach of the Government towards recovery of the huge bad loans defaulted by the big corporate companies while burdening the common banking public with unwarranted penalty charges, service charges etc., to off- set the revenue loss incurred by the Banks due to the huge write-off of such non-performing assets.
The convention also disapproved the policy of merger of public sector banks, which will shrink banking services and result in closure of large number of branches besides affecting the jobs and job security of the bank employees.
The convention, hence, decided to continue the struggle against the Government’s anti-people economic policies and anti-worker labour policies and gave a Clarion Call for a Nation-wide General Strike on January 8, 2020, preceded by State-level campaign programmes.
The CC of AIBEA wholeheartedly welcomed the decision of the National Convention and unanimously decided to support the strike call and accordingly, a country-wide strike on January 8, 2020 will be observed in the banking industry.
The CC noted that in the absence of a common approach to build up a united struggle against the proposed closure of 6 PSBs through merger of 10 Public Sector Banks, it has become necessary to take initiatives to launch independent struggle programmes against these unwarranted measures.
The CC took note that AIBEA and BEFI have jointly given the call for strike on October 22, 2019. The meeting exhorted all our unions and members to make the strike a grand success in all the banks and in all the States. The CC also decided that further intensive struggle programmes should be built up to oppose the merger of banks.
On the Expedite Wage Revision, the up-to-date details of the current negotiations with the IBA on our Charter of demands were reported to the Central Committee. The CC noted that all attempts are being made by the Negotiating Committee to thwart the anti-employee demands of the IBA like cost-to-company method, introduction of fixed pay-variable pay concept, unrestricted transfer of employees by abrogating the existing bank-wise settlements on transfers, linking performance to pay and allowances etc.
The meeting also took note that the negotiations so far have covered improvements in various aspects of our service conditions, retirement benefits etc. The CC also observed demands like 5-day banking etc. are being vigorously pursued.
The CC noted that the IBA was adopting a positive attitude towards improvement in family pension and further efforts are needed to pursue our demands for periodical updation of pension.
The AIBEA General Secretary, who was present at the meet, explained the latest proposal of the IBA regarding “Performance Linked Incentive” scheme (which will be over and above and exclusive of the wage revision settlement) and CC took note of the same.
Mr Venkatachalam informed that the IBA has improved its offer to 12% increase on “pay-slip cost”, which comes to Rs.6318 Crore. He, however, felt that this offer is not upto our expectations and needs to be further improved upon.
He further expressed concern over the disturbing developments in the economic scenario and the challenges faced by the banking industry and felt that all-out efforts should be taken to reach an amicable understanding on all these issues as early as possible and to achieve a satisfactory wage revision.
The CC noted that various inimical and anti-AIBEA forces are active in the field to deliberately create disruptive campaigns to demean AIBEA, encouraging false propaganda with a view to undermine the role of AIBEA and to create confusion in the minds of the bank employees, when they are anxiously awaiting a reasonable wage settlement.
The meeting called upon all units to be vigilant against these sinister moves of the vested interests and to give a befitting rebuff to all these nefarious elements, who are active in the social media and otherwise.
''we are passing through a very unfriendly atmosphere and there are multiple challenges. The need of the hour is rock-like unity, unflinching commitment to the organisation and faith in the banner of militant trade union organisation, AIBEA. This alone will ensure our caravan to move forward and achieve our legitimate goals and demands'', Mr Venkatachalam said.(UNI)