With the 11th Bipartite Wage Settlement now reached, four bank employee unions have now asked the Indian Banks’ Association to begin discussions on other issues, including a five-day week and pension and medical benefits for retired employees.
“As part of our common charter of demands from awardstaff, we had raised certain important issues which could not be resolved during the course of negotiations but which were agreed to be discussed further to work out possibilities of resolution in due course…” said four bank employees unions in a letter to Rajkiran Rai, Chairman, IBA.
The unions include the All India Bank Employees Association, the National Confederation of Bank Employees, the National Organisation of Bank Workers and the Indian National Bank Employees Federation.
They have now asked the IBA to convene a meeting to discuss these issues.
After three years of discussions, IBA and bank unions had finally agreed on a 15 per cent pay hike earlier this month.
Bank unions had, however, decided to put non-financial issues on the back burner to ensure that the wage negotiations were completed.
They have now listed out 18 points for discussion, such as the introduction of five-day weeks; provision of periodical updation of pension on occasions of wage revision; revision of ex-gratia pension to pre-1986 retirees; improvement in Group Medical Insurance Scheme for retired employees; and payment of insurance premium by bank management.
They have also called for discussion on allocation of funds for staff welfare schemes based on operating profits of banks; increase in quantum of festival advance to employees; and increased conveyance allowance to physically challenged employees.
“It was mutually decided that these were not make-or-break issues and could be taken up for discussion later after the wage negotiations,” noted a person familiar with the development.
Bank unions have been calling for a five-day week for some time now, but many experts point out that it may not be possible given the dependence on bank branches even now, especially by senior citizens and in smaller towns.
As part of the 10th bipartite settlement in 2015, it was decided that the second and fourth Saturday of every month would be a bank holiday.