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CIRCULAR NO.146                                                                        29.11.09
TO ALL AFFILIATES/MEMBERS:
MOU ON SALARY REVISION REACHED
IBA REFUSES TO PROTECT THE INTEREST OF OUR MEMBERS IN MOU
BOTH AIBOC/NCBE GENERAL SECRETARIES STAYED OUT OF THE MOU
MASSIVE LUNCH HOUR JOINT DEMONSTRATIONS HELD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY
            The 9th Bipartite settlement covering the salary revision of the entire banking industry including the Employees and Officers in the State Bank of India has reached a very crucial stage with the decision of the General Secretaries of both AIBOC and NCBE deciding to stay out of the signing ceremony of the MOU as, the last minute efforts on the part of the leadership of both the Federations to bring in enabling provisions in the MOU, by driving home the need for such a provision to protect the interests of both the employees and Officers of SBI with the Indian Banks’ Association having failed, walked out of the negotiations in protest against the most unjustified act of both the United Forum of Bank Unions and the Indian Banks’ Association. 
2.         The leadership of both the Federations who were the major partners in the negotiating team of the unions have been impressing upon the Indian Banks’ Association as well as the Government officials through the executives of our Bank during the last couple of months that the interests of the employees and officers of SBI will have to be taken care as regards the distribution of the wage increase at the time of conclusion of the salary settlement with particular reference to the additional cost that the other banks in the industry are required to meet on Pension. The IBA and the Government were very well aware of the special feature that has been prevailing in the State Bank of India over the last 40 years. Hence, there was no iota of doubt in the minds of the leaders of the Federations that the tradition will be broken and appropriate provision will not be made in the MOU to be signed during the current settlement. 
3.         The bipartite talks resumed between UFBU and IBA on 27th November 2009 to finalize the understandings between the leadership of UFBU and IBA. When the draft MOU was made available in UFBU meeting on 26.11.2009, we immediately brought to the notice of the IBA as well as the Convener of the United Forum of Bank Unions that there is a need to make a provision to the effect that the additional cost that is being incurred by the banking industry on account of the 2nd option on Pension and also the incremental cost towards superannuation that is to be provided on the revised salary scales should be passed on to the employees and officers in State Bank of India by way of a separate settlement between the Management of State Bank of India and the Federations in State Bank of India. Com. K.S.Shetty , President of AIBOC also made similar request on IBA and UFBU convener. We understand that, SBI Management also requested to IBA / Government earlier. The IBA took some time to come back in meeting on 27.11.2009 they informed the leadership of both the Federations that the Government is not agreeable to make these provisions in the MOU. Our request to IBA / UFBU to postpone the meeting by two days for consultations with SBI Management and Government fell on deaf ears. The MoU was thrust on the leadership. We do not understand the sacrosanctity of 27th November, 2009. Mere two days time would have averted the major embarrassment. We had no other alternative but to refuse to be a party to the MOU proposed by the IBA.
4.         The leadership of both the Federations abided by the directions of steering committee not to be a party to the MOU which does not take care of the interests of the employees and officers in State Bank of India. We have immediately conveyed our decision to IBA through a separate communication urging upon the Chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association to intervene in the matter and take necessary steps in the interest of equity and justice. The copy of our communication is enclosed.
5.         We have also conveyed our views to the convener of UFBU for his intervention and necessary steps to correct the situation and the copy of the letter to him is also enclosed.
6.         The Chairman of IBA and the Convener of United Forum of Bank Unions went ahead with the signing of the MOU along with all other constituents despite the request of both the Federations to postpone the signing of the MOU for a day or two to thrash out the issue. Despite our requests, the president AIBOC and NCBE decided to sign the MoU. It was a most unfortunate development in the history of bipartite negotiations. The major organizations having raised the issue with the Chairman of IBA and also the United Forum of Bank Unions to protect the interest of about 30% of the total strength of the employees and Officers in the Banking Industry, the signing of MOU was rushed through without any regard to the sentiments of the employees and officers in the State Bank of India. The Federations therefore decided to organise a massive lunch hour protest demonstrations all over the country, on 27th November, 2009.
7.         We must compliment our rank and file across the country that within a short notice of one hour the entire workforce came out of their establishments and showed tremendous unity and solidarity and protested against this hasty action on the part of the IBA as well as the Government of India. The reports received at both the head quarters of the Federations indicate that the demonstrations were not only spontaneous but included the officers of all category and they were upset about the approach of the IBA as well as UFBU. 
8.         Thereafter, representatives of the Steering Committee of both the Federations met the Chairman, SBI to convey these developments. We have conveyed our anguish and also the need for protecting the interest of the employees of State Bank of India. We are confident that that Management would do its might in getting justice to our workforce. It was heartening to note that the Chairman listened to our concerns with all seriousness and suggested for convening a Tripartite Forum consisting of Management and the two Federations to discuss and come to amicable settlement on the issue. He also assured that, he would convey our concerns to the Govt. with his positive recommendations. In case Government is not considerate to our just demands, we will be compelled to resort to agitation.
9.         Comrades, we have now taken up the responsibility of ensuring that justice is meted out to our colleagues in State Bank of India. We will not rest until the issues relating to the special features as well as the passing of the benefit of the extra cost incurred by the Banking Industry on account of the 2nd option on Pension as well as the incremental cost on account of pension in the current salary revision is resolved in favour of our employees and officers. The long pending demand of improvements in SBI Pension Scheme and enhancement in Gratuity Ceiling are also our priorities. Hence, we appeal to all our members to be in readiness to take up the cudgels at short notice to carry forward our crusade against the injustice meted out to our members across the country. The General Secretaries of affiliates of both staff and Officers’ Federation will meet on 1st December, 2009 at Delhi to chalk out further course of actions. Further developments would be advised in due course.
With revolutionary greetings,
                                                                                              
                                                                                                   (G.D.NADAF)
                                                                                             GENERAL SECRETARY
 
 
CIRCULAR NO.150                                                                                     30.11.09
TO ALL AFFILIATES/MEMBERS:
WHY DID STAFF AND OFFICERS’ FEDERATIONS STAYED OUT OF MOU HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES; MEMBERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF
 
            The All India State Bank Officers’ Federation and All India State Bank of India Staff Federation are the two major organizations having 100% membership looking after the interests of the employees and Officers in State Bank of India. Due to the organisations’ commitment and the trade union perspectives they have been following over the last 50 years, are considered as the leaders of the bank employees’ movement and rightly so, due to the massive support that they have been enjoying in their own bank from their members. The struggles and sacrifices on the part of these unions in protecting the interest of the trade union fraternity as well as the people of the country are part of their routine functioning in the organisations. They stood like a rock in ensuring one more option for pension for the CPF optees of other Banks.
2.         The Employees and Officers in State Bank of India have been enjoying certain special features in their salary and perquisites which include the superannuation benefits as well. The Federations were able to protect these special features despite the changes that are taking place in the Banking Industry over the last several Bipartite settlements; while at the same time being the part of the mainstream in all their struggles to ensure better working conditions for the entire workforce in the Banking Industry. In order to place the facts in right perspective not only to our members but also to the members of the Banking Industry, we furnish below some of the details of the past settlements which ensured that the special features of State Bank of India were protected.
3.         Introduction of PCR during 1979 in the banking industry:
            The PCR was the first attempt to bring uniformity in the banking industry. The Pillai committee was entrusted with the Job of determination of uniform service terms and conditions for Nationalised Banks. Subsequently, the recommendations were applied to SBI. The Officers working in State Bank of India were given a special fitment since their emoluments and perquisites were much superior to the PCR. This was done in three phases.
 The first phase -   To place all officers who were in erstwhile Officer   Grade - I with 7 years service, in MMGS II on the date of implementation of the scheme. The officers recruited from the market were given 4 additional increments in the entry point. Even after 30 years, the same principle is being followed.
The second phase - To give higher fitment to all those who were in both Officer-Grade I and Grade II to merge in to JMGS – I.
The Third Phase - To ensure that all the Officers who were in OG I and OGII are promoted to MMGS – II under special dispensation within a period of 5 years. (It was almost automatic promotion)
4.         During 3rd Bipartite, as regards the Workmen, which came into effect from the year 1978; higher fitment was given to them to protect the total emoluments and the special feature they were enjoying. Two additional Increments were granted to the employees in order to protect the additional DA and Adjusting Allowance they were drawing earlier.
5.         Historical factors of the recent past:
            The 6th Bipartite was crucial from the point of view of the employees and officers in the Banking Industry other than the State Bank of India. The pension scheme was introduced in the Banking industry after prolonged struggle by all unions in banking industry at an estimated additional cost of 6.8% in lieu of the contributory Provident Fund. The salary increase was at 10.5%.
6.         In State Bank of India:
            The additional cost of pension at 6.8% incurred by the management of other Banks; share of SBI was utilised for the improvement of SBI Pension Scheme through discussions between the Management and both the Federations. The Government permitted SBI to earmark Rs. 120/- crores towards Superannuation cost and other benefits. Accordingly, the Pension ceiling was enhanced from Rs. 2,400/- p.m to Rs. 4,500/- p.m.   The Bank also provided a Special Compensatory Allowance ranging from Rs.150 to Rs. 550 p.m for employees and Rs. 350 to Rs. 550 p.m for Officers.
7.         Rationalisation of the D.A Formula and Introduction of Commutation of Pension in SBI:
            The Dearness Allowance was brought on par with the industry for the Pensioners and the Family Pensioners. The commutation of Pension was introduced.
8.         During 7th Bipartite - The incremental cost on pension at industry level (18.5% of pay) was used for the grant of second instalment of Special Compensatory Allowance. As regards the improvements in the superannuation scheme; the Management had put up a comprehensive recommendation to the Government for their consideration.
9.         Incremental Cost On Pension:
            According to Pension regulations, Pension was introduced in the Banking Industry w.e.f. 01.11.1993, in lieu of Provident Fund. The employees opting for Pension have to contribute 10% of pay towards Pension fund in lieu of Provident Fund.
            During the 7th Bipartite, IBA requested the Unions to bear additional cost on pension on account of increase in basic pay, in 50:50 proportions over and above 10% of pay. The additional cost on pension, on account of increase in basic pay was estimated at 26.5% of the pay. Excluding 10% of the share of the employees, remaining 16.5% cost was shared in the ratio of 8.25 / 8.25 each, by Unions and Management.
            Similarly during 8th Bipartite, incremental cost on pension on account of change in basic pay was estimated at 30.5% of pay. Excluding 10% share of employees, remaining cost was shared in the ratio of 11.25% and 9.25% by the Management and Unions respectively. 
            In the 9th Bipartite, incremental cost on account of salary revision is estimated at 36% of pay and in excess of 10% contribution by the employees, will be shared in 50/50 ratio at 13% each, by the Unions and the Management.
            This additional contribution over and above 10% of pay by the employees towards pensions will be adjusted out of salary offer of 17.5%. The amount so recovered has to be credited to the pension fund of respective banks, other than State Bank of India, as SBI pension scheme is different and managed by the SBI. In State Bank of India, employees are not contributing any amount towards pension fund, on account of Tribunal and Court Verdicts.
10.      8th Bipartite - As the earlier proposals for improvements in SBI Pension Scheme sent to the Government were not cleared, the superannuation issues remained unresolved. Therefore, the employees and Officers in SBI went on an historical joint indefinite strike for 7 days during April 2006 which provided a partial breakthrough on superannuation benefit.   Accordingly, a settlement was reached for the revision of the Pension and also revision of Family Pension which remained unresolved for almost 14 and 20 years respectively. The ceiling on Pension was raised to 50% of the last Basic Pay upto a basic of Rs. 21,040/- with a minimum pension of Rs. 10.520/- p.m and thereafter at 40% of the average last drawn Basic Pay. The gratuity ceiling is at Rs. 3.5 Lacs. The commutation formula is inferior as compared to that available in Government and other Industries. The retirees prior to 01.11.2002 are drawing their pension on old scale pertaining to the 7th Bipartite. 100% D.A neutralisation is not applicable to them.   Pension ceiling will not get upgraded automatically on account of salary revision.
11.      In the Joint Note signed by IBA and AIBOC on 21st October 1993 on pension scheme for other banks, following para was added.
“In the case of State Bank of India the conclusion reached as above in regard of pension /PF contribution will not apply. The Bank management will have discussions with representative unions in the matter and the conclusions reached will be implemented after consultation with the Government “.
12. Similarly, in the minutes of discussions between IBA & NCBE the following para was added.
         “Benefits for State Bank of India Employees
In the Case of State Bank of India, the improvement in regard to pension /provident fund contribution will not apply. The Bank management will have discussions with representative unions in the matter including technology up-gradation and productivity and the conclusions reached regarding monetary package will be implemented after consultation with the Government”. 
13.      Comrades, the facts speak for themselves. It is a historical fact that the convention of the special features available to State Bank of India are not only being protected but also improved upon from time to time by availing the additional cost that the other banks have been incurring for their employees towards the superannuation benefits. Hence, it was expected that the same logic will be made applicable to the State Bank employees and officers during the current Bipartite as well. Our experiences during the 7th and 8th Bipartite have compelled us to raise the issue of making a reference in the MoU as was done in 6th bipartite so that there is no clash at a later stage between the Management of State Bank of India and both the Federations. Had the Government and IBA been little pragmatic, the joint Indefinite Strike in April 2006 in SBI could have been averted.
14.      We have placed all these facts to enable our members as well as the members of other unions to understand the stand of the Federations in State Bank of India in right perspective and avoid any unnecessary confusion amongst themselves. The salary revision in the Life Insurance Corporation of India and the Reserve Bank of India will follow the settlement that has been reached in the Banking Industry.
15.      The Employees and Officers of Life Insurance Corporation of India will get the full benefit of the wage load negotiated by them without making any additional contribution to the Pension Scheme. During the 7th and 8th bipartite, Employees and Officers in banks made an additional contribution towards the pension scheme to meet the so called gap in the pension fund as stated above.
16.      The position is the same in the Reserve Bank of India as well. In fact, they are one step ahead of all of us. They are taking the developments in State Bank of India as a bench mark and not only to improve upon the settlement in State Bank of India but also draw all the special allowances that were settled in State Bank of India. The example being the Special Compensatory Allowance granted to them. In addition, they are getting RBI allowance of Rs. 5,000/- p.m. Hence, we are justified to pursue our cause and ensure justice to our members. 
17.      We have taken up the issue at Bank level to protect the interest of employees and officers of SBI. The AISBOF being an affiliate of AIBOC, it is incumbent on the Confederation also to support the cause of its affiliate. Hence, leadership of AIBOC and NCBE refused to be a part of the understandings with IBA, where interest of SBI employees and officers were not taken into account. As UFBU/IBA did not respond to the requirement of AIBOC / NCBE to provide two days time to sort out the issue, there was no alternative than to abstain from accepting the dictation of IBA.
18.      We have therefore decided to call a meeting of the General Secretaries of both the Federations on 1st of December 2009 at Delhi and chalk out appropriate strategies to achieve our just and right demands with the management of State Bank of India, Indian Banks’ Association and also the Government of India.
19.      All our affiliates/members are requested to await further developments in the matter.
            With revolutionary greetings,
 
                                                                                                                 
 
                                                                                                             (G.D.NADAF)
GENERAL SECRETARY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CIRCULAR NO: 156                                            7th December, 2009  
TO ALL AFFILIATES/MEMBERS:
 
 
INDUSTRY LEVEL NEGOTIATIONS
ROLE OF THE INDIAN BANKS’ ASSOCIATION
 
          The Indian Banks’ Association is a voluntary organization of the Managements of the various banks in the country. The membership consists of the banks in the Private, Public, Co-operative and also Foreign Banks who will be collectively represented by the Indian Banks’ Association in all the forums. As this has become very handy in dealing with the industry level issues, the Government has entrusted them with certain onerous responsibilities in the larger interest of the Banking Industry. The IBA also plays a complimentary role as far as the Reserve Bank of India is concerned in taking up the issues of the Managements of all the Banks collectively and also facilitating the dissemination of information, guidelines, policies and programmes of the RBI from time to time. Thanks to the globalisation impact, the IBA has acquired a totally professional approach in dealing with all the matters concerning the Banking Industry in the recent past. The Headquarters which was functioning from the Stadium House, Church Gate, Mumbai was shifted to the World Trade Center to give it a global look and also an aura of highly professional outlook.
 
 
2.       One of the important tasks entrusted to the Indian Banks’ Association was to negotiate with the major unions for reviewing the salary scales from time to time. The IBA has been responsible for discharging this responsibility from the middle of 1960s’ in the case of the workmen staff in the Banking Industry and as far as the Officers’ fraternity is concerned from the middle of 1980’s after introduction of the Pillai Committee Recommendations as the Government wanted that the IBA’s maturity and experience will come handy in dealing with the issues connected with the salary revision of Bank Officers’ as well.
 
3.       The Managements of the Banks who are members of the Indian Banks’ Association have handed over a mandate; so that the representatives of the Indian Banks’ Association will be in a position to talk to the unions on behalf of the Managements of the member banks. The mandate is given by each bank with lot of trust on the leadership of the Indian Banks’ Association; so that they are able to resolve the issues in a peaceful manner to ensure lasting industrial relationship in all the banks, once a settlement is reached amongst the unions and the Indian Banks’ Association. The disputes arising if any, in between are sorted out through dialogue by the representatives of the Unions and the Indian Banks’ Association. On behalf of the Officers’ fraternity, the unions representing them in the Banking Industry are as follows:-
 
                                      AIBOC        -   1,94,764.00
                                      AIBOA         -      24,677.00
                                      INBOC        -      12,971.00
                                      NOBO         -        2,854.00
                                                            ------------------
                                      TOTAL        - 2,35,266.00
                                                           ------------------
There are 5 Workmen Unions representing the Banking Industry in the country. Names of these unions and the membership enjoyed by them are as follows:-
                                      AIBEA         -   2,25,463.00
                                      NCBE                   -   1,68,732.00
                                      BEFI           -      33,136.00
                                      INBEF         -        9,636.00
                                      NOBW         -      11,835.00
                                                             -------------------
                                      TOTAL           4,48,802.00
                                                             -------------------
4.       The Employees and Officers working in State Bank of India are having independent unions for the Award Staff and the Officers of the Bank. There are no rival unions in State Bank of India. The Officers’ Federation consists of 84,000 members which includes the members of the Associate Banks (64000 + 20000) and similarly the Workmen Staff are members of the Staff Federation which has over 1,41,000 members. These organizations are affiliated to the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation and National Confederation of Bank Employees respectively. Together both these organizations have a total membership of 2,25,000/- which is more than 30% of the total strength of the Banking Industry.
 
5.       The current salary revision was full of disputes, struggles and agitations in the Banking Industry. The major issues flagged during the agitation were a fair wage revision, the 2nd option on Pension to the employees of banks other than State Bank of India, who are governed by a separate superannuation scheme which is in vogue for the last 200 years in the country. The number of strikes which took place in the Banking Industry in hammering out a settlement over the 2nd option on Pension issue, is much more than the number of strikes which were conducted on any other issue. On all these occasions, the performance of the Employees and Officers of State Bank of India as an affiliate of their parent organizations and leading from the front was highly inspiring to others and total. It is mere blackout; when it comes to the strikes in the State Bank group as a whole under the banner of both Federations. Officers, upto SMGS-V have joined the strikes. It was a show of strength and unity in the industry. 
 
6.       The unity and solidarity that was exhibited collectively by all the unions enabled the Government to consider the long pending demand of the 2nd option on Pension. In course of negotiations, understandings were reached for sharing the additional cost of 2nd option on Pension by the employees as well. The sharing of the cost of 2nd Option on Pension by the entire workforce in the banks other than State Bank of India and also the incremental cost by all of them again at the time of allocation of the wage load to various heads was a matter of serious negotiations between the UFBU and the IBA. We were always endeavoring to protect the interest of the workforce and insisted that the Management should bear the major portion of the cost as per the convention.
 
7.       The additional cost on account of the Pension Scheme that was borne at the industry level was separately compensated to the employees and officers in State Bank of India during the earlier occasions through negotiations between the Unions and the Management which was known to the IBA and they also had supported such agreements in State Bank of India. During the current negotiations, the IBA wanted to raise the issue of the New Pension Scheme for future recruits in State Bank of India as well. The issue came up as a surprise to the unions in particular the leadership of both the Federations in State Bank of India and when they indicated that there is no question of the issue coming up for discussion in isolation and the entire gamut of the Superannuation Scheme that is prevailing in State Bank of India and the outstanding issues that are still under consideration by the Government will have to be brought to the negotiating table and then only the issue of NPS in SBI can be taken up for discussion. The Chairman of Indian Banks’ Association dropped the discussions on this issue and took a plea that there is no need to continue discussions on the issues of superannuation connected with the State Bank of India at the IBA level and hence it was not persisted by them.
 
8.       In the mean time, we requested the UFBU convenor and Chairman of IBA and SBI to insert a protective clause in the MoU at IBA level as regards superannuation and incremental cost of pension to be settle at Bank level as was done during thee previous bipartites. Our Chairman also took up the issue with the IBA and we were informed that interest of SBI employees will be protected, at the time of drawing the MoU. The Convenor of UFBU also assured us that the matter will be resolved amicably. Presidents of AIBOC and NCBE pursued the matter with the IBA and UFBU along with our leadership.
 
9.       Accordingly, at the time of the recording of the Minutes on the salient features and signing of an MOU by the unions – on 27.11.09, the leadership of both the Federations raised certain issues and the need for incorporation of the same in the Minutes. The request of both the Federations was that there is a need to incorporate the arrangement as regards the settlement of the extra cost that the industry as well as the workforce is incurring on account of the 2nd option on Pension and as also the incremental cost on account of salary revision with the employees and officers of State Bank of India since this was the tradition earlier. The representatives also wanted that the issue has to figure in the MOU and the IBA should make these provisions to avoid conflicts at a later date.
10.     The Federations insisted for such a provision in the MOU for the following reasons:-
 
a)    For the first time the IBA wanted to bring the bank level issue of the Superannuation Scheme prevailing in State Bank of India as a part of the MOU and insist the State Bank of India management to fall in line with other banks – which raised suspicion in the minds of both the Federations that a conspiracy is being hatched by the IBA to create industrial relations problem in State Bank of India.
b)   The issue of 2nd option was settled as quid-pro-quo at the industry level – wherein the employees will bear a portion of the cost and also will be agreeing for the introduction of New Pension Scheme which was being opposed by the UFBU earlier since the Pension Scheme that was introduced in the Banking Industry for the benefit of all other banks was not an additional benefit, it is in lieu of the Provident Fund and an option was given at the time of the introduction. Hence, it was iniquitous to insist that the existing Pension Scheme should be replaced by the New Pension Scheme – which is going to be handed over to the Private operators.
c)    The Federations in State Bank of India were able to get the benefit of the additional cost that the industry incurred at the time of the introduction of the Pension Scheme and also in the subsequent settlements by way of additional benefits as also improvements in the superannuation scheme. The employees and Officers went on joint indefinite strike during April 2006 when the Government and State Bank Management failed to consider the improvements in the superannuation scheme in the 8th bipartite and got the Pension Ceiling and Family Pension ceiling revised since it was not revised for the last 14 years and 20 years respectively.
d)   The Steering Committee of the representatives of both the Federations who were holding periodical consultations amongst themselves based on the developments from time to time were of the unanimous view that these issues will have to be discussed and necessary provisions should be made in the MOU in order to avoid the Government as well as IBA backing out subsequently on implementation of the 9th bipartite agreement. It was also felt by the Steering Committee; in view of the fact that both the Federations represent more than 30% of the workforce and 100% of the members in State Bank of India should not be a party to the MOU in case these provisions are not incorporated in order to protect the interest of the employees and officers in State Bank of India.
11.     The leadership of both the Federations also had serious reservations on sharing the incremental cost as indicated by the IBA for the first time during the negotiations. The views of both the Federations were as follows:-
 
a) The leadership of the State Bank Federations were opposing the imposing of the incremental cost on the employees from the beginning. Keeping in view of the position of Banks during 7th and 8th bipartite a portion of incremental cost on pension was shared by the employees out of Salary package. These were matters of negotiation on the earlier occasions. When the workforce is already subjected to a huge burden on account of the sharing of cost of 2nd option on Pension; sharing of the incremental cost by the entire workforce in addition at the rate of 23% (10+13) was yet a very crucial blow and would cost around 6% of the wage load thus reducing the wage hike of 17.5% to 11.5%, although it was a better percentage when compared to the last revision. We were insisting for a dialogue on this issue and requested the leadership of the United Forum of Bank Unions that the tradition as regards the sharing of the incremental cost was through a negotiated settlement. The incremental cost at 36% of pay indicated by the IBA is higher, which require verification by our common actuaries. The employees shared during the last occasion to the extent of 19.25% (10+9.25) - it was just one percent over and above the earlier wage settlement (7th Bipartite) that is 18.25% (10+8.25). There was not only scope for negotiation but strong justification for reducing the burden on the workforce through convincing arguments before the IBA.
 
b) The incremental cost was declared to be 36% without any prior discussions at the time of signing of MOU and which came as a rude shock to many of the representatives of the unions. There was no study nor the working to show the need for such a huge provision when there is going to be 100% membership under the Pension in future. The leadership of both the Federations during UFBU meeting held on the evening of 26th November, 2009 wanted a discussion on the subject and were asking for the postponement of the settlement by just a couple of days to enable us to study the impact of these new proposals brought by the IBA. Even the BEFI leadership was also pleading for 3-4 days time to consult the actuary.
 
c) In case there is stalemate on the issue of sharing of the burden of incremental cost – the issue could be debated with the IBA representatives separately and an amicable solution could be found in case we do not rush through the MOU.
12.     The points were raised in the UFBU and the Convener brushed aside these views and took a stand that there is no question of further debate and the MOU has to be finalized on 27th November, 2009 only. The leadership of both Federations pleaded as follows:-
a)    that the issue of State Bank of India has to be resolved before concluding the MOU to avoid further complications;
b)   the issue of sharing of the incremental cost to the extent of 23% of pay amounts to increase to the extent of 3.75% which will reduce the salary revision percentage considerably.
c)    The signing of MOU could be delayed by another two or three days since the advice of the Chairman of State Bank of India and also some of the other senior executives of other banks can be obtained and through their intervention an amicable solution could be reached. At the time of 8th Bipartite when such a stalemate was created – the meeting was adjourned for a short time and the then General Secretary of the Federation who was also the Convener of the UFBU sought an appointment with the Chairman of SBI who had taken over as the Chairman of IBA and convinced him the need for taking a pragmatic view as regards the incremental cost. Ultimately the IBA had to accommodate the sentiments of the unions and the burden was reduced considerably. Thereafter, the meeting resumed and conclusions were reached. The Chairman of IBA had all the time and power to introspect on these aspects and reduce the burden on the employees which he failed to discharge thereby causing a serious damage to the workforce in the Banking Industry.
13.     When these pleadings failed to evoke any positive response from our own leadership in the UFBU and also the Chairman of IBA, the representatives of both the Federations served a letter on the Chairman of IBA in their capacity as the General Secretaries of the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation and also National Confederation of Bank Employees so that he can understand the intensity of the frustration of a large chunk of the workforce and take a pragmatic view for sorting out the issue. We understand that the Chairman of SBI also requested the Chairman of IBA to defer the MoU for couple of days, to resolve the issue.
14.     As incremental cost of pension at 23% of pay, reduced from the wage hike of 17.5%, will be utilised for transferring it to the Pension Fund of the other Banks, in case of SBI employees, incremental cost thus reduced from the wage increase cannot be credited to the Pension Fund of other banks. Therefore, we insisted for a protective clause in MoU at IBA level or at SBI level, simultaneously before finalising the MoU. The request was just overlooked and they went ahead with signing of the MoU.
 
 
15.     It is most unfortunate that the Chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association himself became a party for such a controversy and is reported to have gone to the extent of mentioning to the press as appeared in the Business Line – “We have done our job after signing the wage hike agreement with UFBU and if there is any resentment among the unions of the SBI, which are also part of UFBU, for wage negotiation talks, then they should settle it with their respective management. Infact, representatives of all the nine bank employees unions had signed the MoU and hence the deal is now being considered as a final one. We, at IBA, can’t discuss the issue which is between the bank employees and the management of a particular bank, added Nair. However, he also said, they (NCBE and AIBOC) wanted to insert a new clause in the MoU at the eleventh hour which was not possible for us. On the preparedness of the banks to go for the wage hike, Nair said that all the banks have been keeping aside a substantial fund for quite sometime for this purpose and hence it will not be difficult to pay the arrears, which would be accrued since November 1st, 2007”. The leadership of both the Federations are not interested in going into the technicalities of these observations and also the question of the application of the agreement on the Employees and Officers in State Bank of India. We are capable of sorting out the issues through our own organizational strength. But certain fundamental questions need to be addressed by IBA. The major ones are:-
 
a.    Does the 30% of the workforce and their sentiments do not count for the IBA while dealing with such a sensitive issue;
b.   What prevented the IBA Chairman to grant an adjournment and decide the entire issues raised by the unions of State Bank of India and seek the views of the Management of State Bank of India;
c.    We are also given to understand that the Government too wanted an amicable settlement with the industry as a whole including State Bank of India;                                                                                         
 
d.   What compelled the Chairman of IBA who had also witnessed a similar situation during the last 2 days strike and was involved in parleys even on 2nd day of strike to reach an amicable settlement without making it an issue of prestige and could bring a settlement, thus helped the CLC to finalise the understandings with UFBU leadership – to be so stubborn abruptly when it became such a matter of importance in the industry and when a request had come from the Management of State Bank of India to sort out the dispute amicably;
e.    The membership of IBA consists of all the Banks – when it comes to meet the expenditure of the conduct of the affairs of the IBA, a major share is borne by the Management of State Bank of India – which is contributed out of the profits earned by the employees and Officers in the Banking Industry, but the words of the Chairman of State Bank of India who is Deputy Chairman of IBA as well, do not carry any extra weight. 
 
16.     We strongly feel that the major portion of the blame for the fiasco that has been created in the Banking Industry will have to be borne by the Indian Banks’ Association. They are also responsible for creating an earlier confusion in the name of the directives of the Government that the offer was reduced from 17.5% to 13% and forcing the industry to observe 2 days strike which could have been avoided. Now with the MOU, perhaps it would be creating yet another opportunity for the large section of the workforce in the Banking Industry to launch bitter agitation if these i