Union to hold discussions with the management next week
Although the management of the State Bank of India Group heaved a sigh of relief as officers of the largest Indian banking entity called off their two-day countrywide strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, the issues they have raised remain unresolved.
“Though the Chairman of the State Bank of India has assured us that he has the autonomy to settle several issues that we have raised, there are several other matters that would have to be resolved by the Union Government,” said G.D. Nadaf, General Secretary, All India State Bank Officers' Federation (AISBOF), the union that gave the strike call.
Talks next week
Mr. Nadaf told The Hindu that “further discussions” with the management have been scheduled for next week and that the Central Labour Commissioner has called both parties for a meeting on November 17.
The union had served a strike notice on the management on October 24.
The officers, numbering about 90,000 across the country – 5,000 in Karnataka – would have “paralysed work” in about 15,000 branches of the SBI Group (more than 1,000 in the State), Mr. Nadaf said.
“Although clerical staff would not have joined the strike, they could not have handled banking activities without the presence of the officers,” Mr. Nadaf said.
Among the “unresolved issues” are the AISBOF's demand that the banks belonging to the group determine the “fitment formula” for officers who were promoted from clerical cadre following the ninth tripartite settlement between the union and the bank management. Nearly 4,500 officers are affected, said Mr. Nadaf.
Another sticking point pertains to the union's demand that nearly 550 officers who were transferred to locations such as Ahmedabad and Mumbai be “transferred back”, he said.
Another major demand is that officers be “fairly compensated” for working on Sundays and other holidays, Mr. Nadaf said.
“There is a shortage of officers, which has resulted in a higher workload on existing officers,” he said.
The union is also demanding “improved” pensions for officers who retired in the 1990s.
“This is a demand that has to be addressed by the Government, but the management has promised to take up the matter,” according to Mr. Nadaf.