Achievements of NCBE

NCBE takes the lead for the solidarity and unity of all the unions in the banking industry. NCBE and AlBEA came closer to each other. NCBE for the first time became a party to the Industry-wise 3rd Bipartite Settlement. On 1st August 1979, 31st October 1979 and 22nd November 1979, and signed the memorandum of settlement.

 
The leaders of both NCBE and AlBEA decided to thwart unitedly, the attacks hurled on the Bank employees and a Joint Action Committee (JAC) was formed. The Joint Action Committee of NCBE and AlBEA gave these two organisations unique opportunities to conclude the 3rd Bipartite Negotiations in a most successful manner. They became not only good negotiating partners but were also confident that their unity could achieve many more benefits from the bank management for the bank employees, only if the unity lasted.
 
During the year 1983 when Com. S. N. Duber was its General Secretary, a land-mark agreement was signed between NCBE-AIBEA and IBA on the 8th September 1983 as a part of "Residual Issues" of the 3rd Bipartite. Among many issues the most important one was "Stagnation Increment". It was agreed upon that two stagnation increments in both subordinate and clerical cadre, equivalent to the last increment rate, would be given, effective from 01-01-1980, to employees for every five years period at the maximum of the respective pay scales. It was also agreed upon that stagnation increments would rank for P. F., Gratuity, Pension, H.R.A., C.C.A all other allowances and D.A. for subordinate Staff. The agreement also provided that the 4th Bipartite Negotiations between IBA and NCBE-AlBEA would commence within a month's time. This constituted a significant achievement on the part of Bankmens’ movement since the Bank management, Government authorities and certain non-representative interested elements were keen to frustrate the bilateral talks and the very spirit of bipartism. There is no doubt the successful completion of Bipartite negotiations inspite of so many hurdles was possible only because of impregnable solidarity, unity, vigilance and firm commitments of NCBE and AlBEA. The most topical but sensitive and controversial agreement between IBA and NCBE-AIBEA combine on "Mechanisation / Computerisation" could be reached restricting the use of computer/machine in the banking industry as far as possible, only because of the united bargaining capabilities of NCBE & AlBEA who represented near 80% bankmen in the industry at that time.
 
The composition and pattern of negotiation remained same during the 4th Bipartite as during the 3rd Bipartite. NCBE and AlBEA were sole negotiating partners and the understanding between the two organisations continued to be perfectly cordial based on mutual trust and faith. On 17th September 1984 NCBE and AlBEA signed 4th Bipartite Settlement. 5th Bipartite Settlement dated 10th April 1989 as modified vide settlement dated the 29th June 1990 between IBA and NCBE-AlBEA was signed with many special features. For the first time in the history of Bipartite Negotiations most of the workmen Unions of the banking industry NCBE, AlBEA, BEFI and INBEF were party to the 6th Bipartite Negotiations.
 
During the turbulent year of 1992 NCBE fought against the harmful recommendations of the Narasimham Committee Report. Seminars and meetings were organised by NCBE throughout the length and breadth of the country to apprise the members and general public of the harmful provisions in the Report. On 27th March 1992 at the call of NCBE bank employees of the country struck work. In 1992 Reserve Bank of India issued a communication No. BL.BC.132/22.01.001/92 dated 20-5-1992) on the delegation of authority to Banks for shifting of offices, opening of controlling offices, spinning-off business etc. under Section 23 of the banking companies regulation Act 1949. From this communication it was clear that on the basis of the retrograde recommendations of the Narasimham Committee at the behest of the Government, Reserve Bank of India sent this communication to the Banks. The Communication states:
  
NCBE vehemently opposed the move of Reserve Bank of India and launched agitational programme to oppose this retrograde steps of Reserve Bank of India. During this period Reserve Bank of India also decided to allow setting up of new private Banks aiming at defeating the national objectives for which the private Banks were nationalised. This exercise of the Government aimed at helping the big business houses and multinationals. NCBE called this attempt of the Govt. an Anti-people and pro-industrialist and pro-multi-national move and adopted agitational approach leading to strike action.
 
In 1993 NCBE forged unity with the unions of other bank employees of the country along with the unions of other financial sectors. A Joint Action Committee of trade unions in Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions was formed. NCBE, BEFI, AIBOC, All India Reserve Bank Employees Association, Unions of NABARD, LIC, GIC, were members of Joint Action Committee. During 1993 NCBE and AlBEA could not move unitedly rather their paths of agitation diverted from each other. The views of NCBE and AlBEA leadership regarding the demand of Pension as 3rd Retirement Benefit were totally opposed to each other.
 
The full day strike on the 2nd September 1993, despite threats of punitive actions by the Government, despite adverse propaganda let loose by IBA using the mass media and opposition from AlBEA was a total success because of active and spontaneous participation of the members of JAC throughout the country. They fought a difficult battle to achieve pension as third retrial benefit and although it could not be achieved the pension benefit could be improved considerably. In 1994 JAC organised synchronised strike action to fight against privatisation of financial sector and ban on recruitment. On the 8th April 1994, about 15 lakhs officers/employees of financial sector participated in the strike call by JAC. Again on the 29th September 1994 one mill lion work force in financial sector went on nation-wide strike.
 
In 1995 Joint Struggle Committee was formed comprising NCBE-AIBEA-BEFI-INBEF. These four organisations represented more than 98% of seven lakhs workmen in all commercial Banks in Public and Private Sector including Foreign Banks and were signatories to the Sixth Bipartite settlement signed on 14-2-1995 with IBA. They fought against IBA's policy of double standards, deliberate discrimination, brazen distortion in relativity vis-a-vis officers in scale-I. Hence there was tremendous unrest and agitation under the banner of Joint Struggle Committee.
 
The total strike on this issue on 31st August, 26th & 27th September 1995 in all banks reflected the anger of the workmen over the deep wounds inflicted on them on account of discrimination and denial of Justice.
 
The successful struggle conducted by Joint Struggle Committee ultimately compelled the IBA and Govt. to come to terms and a memorandum of settlement between IBA and NCBE-AIBEA-BEFI-INBEF was signed on 14th December 1996.
1997
Common Platform for Common Cause for All Bank Employees
United Forum of Bank Unions
 (AIBEA - AIBOC - NCBE- AIBOA - BEFI - INBEF - INBOC - NOBW – NOBO)           
has been formed to fight
 
AGAINST
Establishment of Local Area Private Banks
FOR
Implementation of Pension Settlement in Private Banks’,
 
Withdrawal of clause in Pension Regulations denying Pension to Employees/officers for "Participation in Strike",
 
Introduction of Pension Scheme in RRBs/Cooperative Banks,
 
To scrap Mahalik Committee Report on RRB Employees/officers wages,
 
For implementation of the 6th Bipartite/Officers salary revision in RRBs,
 
Lifting ban on recruitment and compassionate Appointments,
 
Removal of ceiling on Gratuity and Bonus, Ban on Non-Banking Financial Companies on accepting deposits from public,
 
Implementation of agreed understanding on residual issues with workmen and officers unions.
 
At the call of the United Forum of Bank Unions all the bank employees of the country participated in the strike on the 4th July 1997, 28th August 1997 and 29th August 1997.
 
NCBE was in the forefront in all struggles launched by UFBU against anti-employee, anti-people and anti-working class measures of the IBA / Government. Forging together, the United Forum of Bank Unions, we can claim with pride, is the skillful, adroit and dedicated work of our former General Secretary, Com. P. Lakshminarasaiah.
 
UFBU is the umbrella Organisation of Nine Unions of Bank Employees and Officers. NCBE worked for its growth and cohesion. So many times strains appeared in the working of UFBU; sometimes because of the conceit of self claimed repositories of wisdom and depositories of militancy. Despite these diversions, NCBE strived to bring about unity in thought and action.
 
Well before the expiry of the Sixth Bipartite Settlement, NCBE submitted Charter of Demands for 7th Wage Negotiations. NCBE was the first Union to do so. Later, initiative was taken by our former General Secretary, Com. P. Lakshminarasaiah to see that a Common Charter of Demands is submitted by all the workmen unions, to avoid any scope for Government / IBA to play up the differences and take advantage. After submission of Common Charter of Demands, IBA did not respond favourably for negotiations as expected but played stalling game to wear out the unions and frustrate the employees. The question of sharing extra cost of Pension, the extent of Computerisation, relief to Weak Banks from the provisions of Industry-wise Settlement and phasing out of costs were all raised by IBA after lapse of considerable time. IBA proposed Bank-wise settlement, breaking the pattern of Industry-wise settlement. NCBE and other unions rejected this proposal. In the next phase, IBA offered to settle only Basic Pay and D.A. at Industry level leaving other matters to be settled at Bank Level. This was also rejected by NCBE and other unions. Then IBA came with proposal of categorizing the Banks into 3 groups: First category - Banks making net profits; Second category- Banks making operating profits but not net profit; and Third category- Banks which do not make either operating or net profit. The percentage of wage increase also proposed in the order of 9%, 8% and 7% for the above said three categories of Banks. This proposal was stoutly rejected by NCBE and other unions.
 
Then, IBA came with an offer of 8% wage load inclusive of Superannuation benefits. After this proposal was rejected by NCBE and other Unions, deadlock ensued in the Bilateral Negotiations and UFBU was forced to resort to agitation including strike action on 12th January, 25th & 26th February 1999. On the verge of the commencement of the Indefinite Strike from 17-03-1999, MOU was signed on 11-03-1999 for a wage settlement with increase in overall load by 12.25% including cost of Superannuation benefits, to be made effective from the next day of expiry of the previous settlement. Leading to the signing of MOU, crevices appeared in UFBU. However, the situation was overcome by exhibition of tolerance to avoid adverse effects of disunity.
 
On resumption of Bilateral talks the Issue of sharing extra cost of Pension beyond the stipulated 10% P.F., came to the fore. Several rounds of discussion had taken place among the unions and with IBA to hammer out a solution.
 
The impatience and haste of a few partners came out in full steam. Pressure was built up by IBA and a few Unions for acceptance of extra cost of Pension beyond what is stipulated in the agreement on Pension. NCBE had taken the stand that apportioning the extra amount beyond 10% of Provident Fund to the Pension optees who are less than 50% in Industry, is not correct without equally passing on this benefit to the PF Optees. But a few unions could not persuade themselves to this justifiable approach of NCBE, as they were victims of their own hastiness to conclude wage settlement.
 
On 14th December 1999, all the four officers’ unions arrived at an understanding subscribing for bearing 50% of the extra cost of Pension beyond the Pension agreement and agreeing to discuss payment of arrears in the three Banks -UCO Bank, United Bank of India and Indian Bank at Bank level and pegging pay for Pension at 1616 points of index. With this development, case of IBA and those toeing the line of IBA gained strength. NCBE was attacked for its stand to cause “Justice to All”.
 
Undaunted by this adversity, NCBE and like minded unions  INBEF, NOBW, BKSM joined together and a Co-ordination Committee was formed to further the cause. Several agitational programmes were conducted. All out attempts were made to denounce NCBE and the Co-ordination Committee as not having foresight to see in hindsight.
 
The Co-ordination Committee was dubbed as obstructionist in arriving at an early settlement on the parameters adopted by the Officers' Unions. Efforts were made to sign a settlement alone with IBA. Despite these, sea-saw changes, the determination of the Co-ordination Committee was unbreakable.
 
On 22nd March 2000, in a round of discussions with IBA, a set of proposals were worked out. These proposals met the views of NCBE to a large extent. Considering the overall situation NCBE agreed for the improved terms and late] brought about few more improvements to the terms of Settlement. On this 7th Bipartite Settlement was signed on 27th March 2000 between Indian Bank's Association and NCBE, AIBEA and INBEF.
 
The high points of the Settlement were:-
1) Higher Pay Scales maintaining parity with officers as recommended earlier by Shanker Committee.
2) Increase in Special Pay.
3) IBA agreeing to forward demand of the unions to the Government for one more option for pension.
4) Bringing down substantially the difference In total cost between Pension and P.F.
5) Restricting bearing of extra cost of pension only to this settlement.
6) Introduction of fifth stagnation increment.
7) Effective date of the Settlement from 01-11-1997 without losing a day after the expiry of last settlement.
 
Charter of demands for 8th Bipartite Wage Revision was submitted to IBA in June 2002. 1st round of discussion took place on 25th October 2002. In the small committee meeting held on 20-12-2002, IBA spokesman dwelt at length on the analysis of profits earned by the banks, particularly Public Sector Banks in 2001-2002 and said that though the profits look large, a portion of it has come from treasury and investment trading and therefore this portion is unstable and volatile. The unions should therefore be realistic in their demands. IBA spokesman also talked about the need for rationalisation of posts carrying special allowances in the emerging environment of computerization and to remove the rigidities that have set in the work culture due to segmentation of work.
 
This time unlike in the past, IBA gave their 18 point charter of demands in advance. The following were the demands of IBA:-
 
• Abolition of all Special Pay carrying Posts in Clerical and Sub-staff cadres.
• Transfer and deployment of workmen will be in terms of provision of Para - 536 of Sastry Award in supersession of all Bank level Settlements relating to transfer/deployment.
• Each Bank shall at its discretion decide on the scope and extent of Computerisation / Mechanisation of its operations, including back office operations.
• Under the "Single Window" system, employee manning the counter shall handle all types of transactions as decided by the management including payment and receipt cash.
• Rationalisation of LTC/LFC facility as regards eligibility, entitlement and coverage.
• Rationalisation of Special Leave Facility available to Office-bearers of workmen Unions.
• Restrictive practices in any form to be treated as acts prejudicial to the interests of the Banks.
• Provision for premature retirement of a workman in public interest on or at any time after completion of 55 years of age or 30 years of service, which ever is earlier.
• Provision for continuing departmental proceedings instituted while in service, even after retirement and with holding of retirement benefits (except own contribution to Provident Fund) till conclusion of proceedings.
• Provision for simultaneous conduct of Departmental and Criminal proceedings.
• Provision for Voluntary Cessation of employment.
• Provision for annual submission of Statement of Assets and Liabilities by Workmen.
• Provision for Termination of Service without notice where the Caste/Community Certificate submitted by a workmen employee for the purpose of employment is held as invalid/false.
• Reduction in the number of casual leave to 8 days in a year.
• Watch and Ward Staff and employees responsible for round the clock maintenance of computers and related systems not to participate in any form of agitation or Strike action.
• Employees detained in police custody beyond 48 hours will be deemed to have been suspended from service.
• No workmen employee shall be a Defence Representative in more than two cases.
• Prior permission of the Bank should be obtained by a workman in case of borrowings from other than approved outside sources.
 
In the small committee meeting held on 17-02-2003, IBA while renewing their demands for rationalisation of special allowances, computerization without any sort of restrictions and mobility of staff offered Rs.450-500 crores enabling average per capita increase for clerical and sub-staff at Rs.850/- and Rs.550/- per month respectively.
 
On 27-05-2003, IBA improved their offer to Rs.687 crores (7%) and desired to know our reaction to their demands, particularly on the issue of mobility and deployment. Unions’ response for IBA demands was conveyed on 09-04-2003
 
On 12-11-2003, IBA expressed its inability to compromise their stand on core issues like mobility, technology and rationalization of Special allowances. IBA also stated that any further offer in the increase in wages would depend upon the unions agreeing to their issues.
 
On 18-12-2003, IBA improved their offer to Rs.818 crores and requested the unions to reduce our demands. We expressed our willingness to scale down our demand to 17% to 18%. As regards mobility, IBA gave us the list of 15 geographical areas in which they would desire deployment of employees. We reiterated our view that deployment of staff cannot be beyond a district. On technology, we can consider the present day requirement subject to no outsourcing. On 14-01-2004, it was decided to serve a letter to the Chairman of IBA demanding immediate wage revision failing which unions will be forced to unleash programme of direct action.
 
On 13-07-2004, IBA wanted the unions to give our reaction on the issue of mobility. Unions were agreeable for mobility within the district or upto a maximum of 40/50 kms from the place of posting but within the state with conditions of adequate compensation, repatriation etc. IBA insisted on state level mobility. Left with no other alternative but to resist the rigid attitude and delay tactics of IBA, a decision was taken in the meeting of UFBU held on 13-07-2004, to launch various kinds of agitation culminating in a day's strike on 24-08-2004. Bowing to the direction of RLC (C) Mumbai, IBA held another round of Bipartite talks on 19-08-2004 and offered Rs.920 crores to workmen. As IBA did not budge from their rigid stand despite appeal from RLC (C); bank employees throughout the country observed a day's strike on 24-08-2004 with zeal and vengeance.
 
In the delegation to the chairman of IBA on 31-08-2004, it was made clear that bank employees have become restive over the inordinate delay in concluding wage revision. 2nd phase of the agitational programme was chalked out culminating in 2 days strike on 5th and 6th October 2004. However, in the conciliation meeting held by the Chief Labour Commissioner at Mumbai on 1st October 2004, unions agreed to withdraw their proposed two days strike on 5th and 6th October; upon IBA agreeing to improve their interim offer of Rs.1800 crores (for both workmen and officers) and also to expedite the wage settlement within a month's time. As IBA continued their casual approach, it was decided to meet IBA Chairman and impress upon him.


Finally on 23-11- 2004, IBA increased their offer to Rs. 2200 crores (for workmen Rs.1288 crores and Officers Rs.912 crores, increase of 13.25% ) and management issues like mobility, technology and rationalisation of Special Allowances were also sorted out.
 
Though IBA had given free hand to Unions for distribution of load, the Central Committee of NCBE in its meeting held on 20-12-2004 at Mumbai decided to insist for taking maximum benefit in the form of Basic Pay. While distributing load, pension cost sharing became a contentious issue. Unions demanded that anomaly created in pension payment to retirees after 7th Bipartite Wage Revision should be set right and pension should be paid at 50% of the last drawn pay.
 
IBA insisted for sharing of additional burden, in case pension is to be paid on last drawn pay. IBA contended that pension cost has gone up more than what was assumed in 7th Bi-partite settlement and banks cannot bear the additional burden on account of pension to be paid on the revised pay.
 
NCBE demanded one more option to pension scheme.
 
On 24-01-2005, UFBU constituents met the IBA Chairman in this regard. In the bipartite meeting on 16th & 17th February some of the other issues could be finalized but not the pension issue.
 
After protracted discussion in the bipartite meeting on 06-04-2005 and Small Committee meeting on 13-04-2005, IBA agreed for payment of pension at 50% of the average last drawn pay subject to the unions agreeing to equally share the additional cost to cover the past retirees, In the meeting with small working group on 21.04.2005, details of costing in respect of updation of pension to past retirees etc were shown to UFBU representatives.
 
As the IBA continued to take rigid stand in the meeting held on 12.05.2005, it was decided to meet the new IBA Chairman Mr. A. K. Purwar. Due to his intervention, the talks resumed on 13-05-2005 and the pension issue was amicably settled paving way for signing of historic 8th Bipartite Wage settlement on 02-06-2005 at Mumbai.
 
Common Charter of demands for 9th Wage Revision was submitted by UFBU to IBA on 29-10-2007.
 
Thereafter, UFBU gave call for a day’s strike on 25-01-2008 followed by two days strike action on 25th & 26th February 2008 opposing merger of Public Sector Banks, outsourcing of normal banking services and demanding one more option for pension, restoration of compassionate appointment scheme, recruitment & early settlement of wage revision. As the response of IBA /Government was non-serious, the bank employees observed a day’s strike on 25-01-2008.
 
At the initiative of the Government, a meeting between UFBU and Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India took place on 19-02-2008. Thereafter another round of discussions was held with Hon’ble Minister of Finance Mr. P. Chidambaram on the very same day. The CLC called conciliation meetings between IBA and UFBU on 22-02-2008 and 23-02-2008. As a result of all the above meetings, IBA came forward and signed MOU dated 25-02-2008. On this UFBU decided to defer the strike action slated for 25th and 26th February 2008.
 
Further rounds of discussions held with IBA on 03-03-2008 and 25-03-2008 in which common panel of actuaries have been agreed upon by IBA and UFBU. Next round of discussions held on 05-05-2008 in which unions explained the silent features of their common charter of demands. Tri partite meeting between IBA, Actuaries and UFBU held 09-06-2008, but no final conclusion was arrived at.
 
Next round of discussion was held on 08-07-2008 on the issue of pension and wage revision. In this meeting after mutual discussion, assumptions on items like rate of attrition, yield on investment, further increase in basic pay have been sorted out. Another meeting with IBA held on 11-08-2008 in which UFBU stated that the revised pay scale should be constructed at Consumer Price Index of 3028 points. In this meeting IBA also presented their demands.
 
To press their demands UFBU observed two days strike on 24th & 25th September 2008. On 25-10-2008 common panel of actuaries submitted their report to IBA. Thereafter another round of discussions held on 06-11-2008 in which IBA stated that they want some time to study the report of actuaries.
Further rounds of discussions with IBA held on 15-12-2008 and 12-01-2009 in which sharing of additional cost of pension was discussed and UFBU offered to share 15% of extra cost of pension. It was agreed that revised pay scale would be constructed at 2836 points of Consumer Price Index.
 
In the meeting held on 21-01-2009, it was decided to forward jointly agreed views of UFBU and IBA on the companionate appointment and financial compensation scheme to the government. In this meeting IBA proposed new pension scheme for new entrants from 01-04-2010, UFBU expressed its disapproval to this proposal of IBA. On the issue of wage revision IBA offered an increase of Rs. 2750 crores for employees and officers together.
 
In the meeting held on 11-02-2009 UFBU emphasized the need for a substantial increase in the offer made by IBA for wage revision while IBA offered an increase of only Rs. 3600 crores.
 
Another round of discussions took place on 21-02-2009. In this meeting IBA informed that they do not have mandate to go beyond their earlier offer of Rs. 3600 crores but agreed to go to their managing committee scheduled on 27-02-2009. UFBU met the Chairman of IBA Shri T. S. Narayanswamy on 21-02-2009 and submitted a memorandum of their demands and seeking expeditious resolutions without any pre condition. Further to this UFBU met Mr. Oscar Fernandes, Hon’ble Minister of state for Labour and impressed upon him to intervene In the matter. On 27-02-2009 UFBU met Hon’ble Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee and submitted a memorandum to him. UFBU explained to him the MOU signed between IBA and UFBU on 25-02-2008 and the approach of IBA in the matter of proposed new pension scheme for future employees. Mr. Mukherjee listened to the demands of UFBU patiently and assured to examine the same and to advise IBA suitably in the matter.
 
On 11-05-2009, another round of talks took place between IBA and UFBU. During the discussions, IBA improved their offer to Rs. 4125 crores i.e. an increase of 15 % over the wage bill as of 31-03-2007. UFBU rejected this offer of IBA. As regards compassionate appointments / Ex-Gratia payment scheme, IBA informed that the government is not agreeable to the mutually accepted revised scheme (finalized by IBA and UFBU) to past cases from July 2004. UFBU demanded that the scheme mutually finalized should be implemented without any further delay. As regards for extending another option to the PF optees to join the pension scheme; IBA insisted that the new pension scheme should be accepted by the UBFU for future employees as a pre condition. UFBU refused to accept this unfair condition of IBA. Further IBA demanded from UFBU to give total freedom to management to outsource banking jobs and services, UFBU could not agree to the same. Because of this approach of IBA, UFBU decided to launch agitational programme including a day strike on 12-06-2009 and two days strike by the middle of July 2009. On this, conciliation meeting was held by Chief Labour Commissioner at New Delhi between IBA and UFBU on 04-06-2009, the CLC had advised both parties to sit together across the table to sort out the issues. While UFBU agreed to this suggestion in order to find amicable solution to its demands, IBA however took the stand that unless the strike is withdrawn, no talks would be held. Hence UFBU decided to go ahead with the strike. In the face of countrywide preparations for the strike, IBA changed their stand and came forward to hold further discussion on our demands. Accordingly, a round of discussions was held between IBA and UFBU on 09-06-2009. Arising out of the discussions, the following positions were emerged.
 
--The precondition that the unions should agree for new pension scheme to be made applicable to the new recruits would not be insisted upon. IBA stated that the existing pension scheme will continue to be applicable to all new recruits only upto 31-03-2010, but UFBU stated that it should be extended upto 31-10-2012.
 
--Regarding sharing of additional pension cost, it was agreed that banks would take a share of Rs. 4200 crores and employees / officers would share Rs. 1800 crores.
 
--To the demand for a minimum increase of 20% in the wage bill, IBA was willing to improve their offer from 15% to 17% subject to approval by Managing Committee. 
           
--In view of the breakthrough in the pre-conditions and the willingness of the IBA to finalise the demands of UFBU with a positive approach within a short time, UFBU decided to defer its proposed strike on 12-06-2009.
 
--It was agreed that IBA and UFBU will meet again very shortly to finalise the understandings.
 
Surprisingly on 17-06-2009, IBA reduced its offer from 17.5% to 15% as per Government advice. On this UFBU in its meeting held at Banglore decided to meet IBA and then decide for strikes and other agitational programmes, if IBA persists. On 04-08-2009, IBA further reduced its offer to 13% and gone back on the issue of Second Option for Pension and Compassionate Appointment. In this highly provocative, insulting and humiliating situation, UFBU has no alternative than to go on action. In the conciliation meeting held also nothing special emerged, hence UFBU decided to go ahead with the strike call. and all the bank employees and officers observed two day’s all India strike on 6th & 7th August 2009. However, late in the evening IBA Chairman informed that they are ready to offer a revised package. In this revised package IBA offered 17.5% as wage hike, pension option as agreed earlier, New Pension Scheme for new recruits from  01-04-2010. IBA also offered to sort out future sharing of pension cost, compassionate appointment through bi-lateral discussions. 
 
On 24-09-2009 all issues like wage increase, another option to join pension scheme, extending the pension option to the retirees, compassionate appointment / financial assistance scheme etc. were discussed. Management issues like outsourcing, streamlining the special pay posts, accounting the cost of pension, introducing new pension scheme were taken up by IBA. As regards the condition of the IBA that the entire cost of Pension arising out of the wage revision to be adjusted from the proposed wage revision and that in the next settlement again another actuarial valuation should be carried out and the gap should be funded by employees sharing the same, the UFBU while rejecting the above conditions, expressed its view that the additional pension cost can be adjusted by sharing a portion of the same as was done in the 7th and 8th Bipartite Wage Revision.
 
Later IBA informed UFBU that they are working out the revised cost of pension on account of the proposed wage revision so that the sharing of such a cost can be finalised and proposed the sharing on 50:50 basis over and above the 10% of cost of pension. As in the 7th Bipartite Settlement, the pension cost of 26.5% was shared at 10% plus 8.25% out of wage revision and balance 8.25% by banks. In 8th Bipartite Settlement, the pension cost of 30.5% was shared at 10% + 9.25% out of wage revision and balance 11.25% by banks. UFBU asked the IBA to expedite the working of the estimated cost of pension consequent to wage revision so that the issue can be sorted out between IBA and UFBU. .
 
The faithful response to the calls of UFBU by the employees and officers coupled with consistent perseverance by the leadership have acted in unison to mount pressure on IBA yielding to legitimate demand of another option of pension and MOU paving way for 9th wage revision was signed by UFBU with IBA on 27th November, 2009 in which both the parties agreed to take steps to expedite the final settlement within 90 days
 
On 9th December 2009 UFBU and IBA again met and discussed the basic approach for finalising settlement based on MOU dated 27-11-2009.
 
On10th December 2009 workmen unions asked for merger of DA at 2836 points and loading of BP at 22% for clerks and 25% for sub-staff.
 
Further to the discussions held on 9 & 10th December, 2009 another round of bipartite discussions took place on 28-12-2009 between IBA and workmen unions. In the meeting, discussions continued on construction of pay scale, revision of special pay, allocation of cost of various items, cost of retirement benefits etc. The unions emphasized that maximum possible cost to be allocated for construction of revised pay scales.
 
Further to the talks held on 28-12-2009, another round of bipartite talks took place on  05-01-2010 between IBA and Workmen Unions. In the discussions unions worked on tentative proposals with higher loading than what was discussed in the last meeting.
 
On 22-01-2010 unions and IBA further discussed about construction of revised pay scales, rationalisation of special pay, costing of pension, proposal to club HRA & CCA etc. Unions also took up improvement in other allowances besides improvement in LFC, family definition, non–insisting of four days leave while availing LFC encashment, up-gradation of lump-sum paid part time employees to scale wages and improvement in hospitalization scheme etc. 
 
On 09-02-2010, unions took up for discussion the cost of rationalisation of special pay, method of calculating the existing cost of pension, accounting the cost of retirement benefits of PF / Pension optees on account of proposed wage revision, date of effect of pension option settlement, making part time employees on lump-sum wages to 1/3rd scale wages, improvement in hospitalization scheme.
 
Further discussions were held on 25-02-2010 and 31-03-2010, in which IBA maintained that while option would be made available to both existing and retired employees but it would be effective from the date of Settlement and not from 01-04-2008 as demanded by UFBU. 
 
On 03-04-2010, another round of talks held between workmen unions and IBA. In the meeting, final understandings have been reached on the various service conditions and the chart on distribution of the total increase of Rs. 2577 crores to various heads.
 
In the meetings held on 7th, 8th & 21st April 2010 sharing formula for cost of pension for serving employees & retirees has been sorted out but difference on date of effect of pension could not be sorted out. According to the agreed formula serving employees have to pay 1.6 times of revised "Pay" payable for November 2007 and retirees have to pay 56% more on what they received as bank's contribution to P.F.
 
On 21-04-2010 UFBU met Hon'ble Finance Minister and it was represented to the Finance Minister that since the Actuarial Report was based on the details of 31-3-2008, the pension option settlement should be effective from 01-04-2008, i.e. those who were in the service on 01-04-2008 should be treated as existing employees for the sake of the settlement and pension payments on account of the option should be made from that date.
 
The Finance Minister did not agree with the viewpoints of UFBU and stated that the effective date can be taken as 27-11-2009 i.e. the date on which MOU has been signed.
 
Thereafter, UFBU met IBA on 26th April 2010 to sort out outsourcing, Special Pay and other remaining issues. Surprisingly in view of the cases filed in the court by the existing pension optees; IBA insisted upon UFBU to agree for total share of Rs.1800 crores to be shared by the existing P.F. optees only which comes to 2.8 times of revised "Pay" payable for November 2007(instead of 1.6 times agreed on 27-11-2009).
 
IBA further reiterated that the serving employees who have already opted for pension earlier would not share the cost of pension option.
 
After prolonged discussions among them, it has been decided by all the constituents of UFBU to sign the settlement taking into consideration the interest of all the employees. Accordingly on 27-04-2010, the much awaited Settlement on 9th Wage Revision and Pension option has been signed with the IBA achieving another landmark in the trade union movement of the Banking Industry. The 9th Bipartite Settlement has been signed by all the nine unions of UFBU and the wages and service conditions of the bank employees have been improved.
 
The pension option settlement has also been signed which enabled all the remaining employees to be covered by the D.A. linked Defined Benefit Pension Scheme which is the best social security measure in the post-retired life of the employees. All the remaining 2,72,000 employees and officers who were covered by the CPF has been given a chance to join the Pension Scheme - a long time demand of the UFBU.
 
The settlement paved the way to more than 50,000 retirees to opt for the Pension Scheme too. The movement for securing Wage Revision and 2nd option of Pension was launched by Nine Unions under the banner of UFBU and the MOU signed on 27th November 2009. The same Nine Unions maintained the true spirit of the UFBU while signing both these settlements on 27.04.2010.
 
Common Charter of Demands for 10th wage negotiations was submitted on 30.10.2012.
 
After three sittings on 12.08.2013, IBA agreed for date of effect of wage increase from 01.11.2012, merger of DA upto 4440 points of CPI 1960 series, i.e. 401 slabs and offered introduction of mediclaim policy facility under which hospitalization expenses would be reimbursed by the insurance company upto Rs.2/3/4 lacs per year for sub-staff/clerical staff/officers respectively. IBA informed UFBU that its recommendations for introduction of compassionate appointment Scheme on similar lines prevailing in Central Government for its employees has been sent to Ministry of Finance, Government of India for its approval.
 
On 14.12.2013, IBA offered wage increase of 5% over the wage expenses covered by the pay slip components exclusive of the cost of other components including superannuation benefits. IBA also stated that they would cover the discussions only upto Scale III officers and further stated that they are not in favour of 5 Day Banking. UFBU decided to go ahead with strike on 18.12.2013. The strike was a thunderous success. On 23.12.2013, UFBU decided on 48 Hours Strike on 20.01.2014 & 21.01.2014.
On 17.01.2014, IBA improved their initial offer from 5% to 9.5%; Strike on 20th & 21st January 2014 deferred. On 27.01.2014, IBA increased their offer by a minimal 0.5% i.e., from 9.5% to 10%. At this call for 48-Hours’ All India Bank Strike was given by UFBU for 10th and 11th February 2014. Bank employees and officers went on 2-Days Strike on 10.02.2014 & 11.02.2014. On 13.06.2014, IBA improved their offer from earlier 10% to 11% on the cost of Pay Slip components of the wage bill amounting to Rs.3,465 Crores.
 
IBA agreed to consider the demand of extending 100% DA for all pensioners subject to approval of the Government. On the demand for improvement in Family Pension, IBA responded positively and informed that cost implication would be worked out and put up to Government for approval. IBA wanted to know the expectation of UFBU and it was informed that our minimum expectation is 25% increase in Pay Slip Components cost.
 
On 17.09.2014, UFBU sought clarifications in the Compassionate Appointment Scheme and expressed its apprehensions in the Jan Dhan Yojna Scheme. IBA informed that the demand of 25% increase in pay slip components cost is on high side and beyond the paying capacity of the banks. UFBU insisted on IBA to substantially revise its offer of increase, on resolution of other important issues like regulated working hours, 5-day banking, improvements in pension related matters and for meetings on negotiation at regular and frequent intervals. UFBU informed that it will have flexibility in its demand depending upon the response of IBA on all the above matters.
 
On 26.09.2014, UFBU reiterated that the management demands such as introduction of cost to company, variable & fixed pay concept and limiting to wage negotiations only upto Scale III officers are not acceptable. IBA was adamant in their stand and did not improve their offer and stuck to their earlier offer of 11%. UFBU expressed its unhappiness over the rigid stand of IBA on improvement.
 
On 13.10.2014, UFBU decided to go on all India one day protest strike on 12.11.2014 and Relay Zonal Strikes from 02.12.2014 to 05.12.2014 to be followed by further strikes including Indefinite Strike.
 
On 10.11.2014, UFBU indicated its willingness to revise its demand to 23% keeping in mind the need to find an amicable solution to the issue. Unfortunately, IBA remained adamant and refused to improve their offer.
Hence, UFBU decided to go ahead with the proposed agitational programmes including the ensuing All India One Day Strike on the 12th November 2014 and Zonal Strikes from the 2nd to 5th December 2014.
 
Strike on 12.11.2014 and Relay Zonal Strikes from 2nd to 5th December 2014 were thunderous success.
 
On 17.12.2014, Condemning IBA’S direction to Banks to re-visit the mandate and demanding immediate and reasonable wage settlement, UFBU declares one day protest strike on 7th January 2015, four days’ strike from 21st to 24th January 2015 and indefinite strike from 16th March 2015 onwards.
 
On 06.01.2015, IBA agreed to improve their earlier offer of 11% increase to 12.5% increase in pay slip components. With a view to pave the way for arriving at a mutually acceptable level through further discussions, UFBU agreed to revise its demand to 19.5%.
 
On 07.01.2015, IBA further informed that they are willing to negotiate and improve the offer during further discussions. Decisions taken for formation of Sub-Committees to discuss:
(a) Revised Medical Reimbursement Scheme (Insurance),
(b) Modifications in Officers Disciplinary and Conduct Regulations suggested by the Unions, regulated working hours for officers, 5 Day banking, etc. and
(c) Demands raised by the Workman Unions and Officers’ Organisations in the Charter.
 
On 14.01.2015 & 19.01.2015, accordingly, Meeting of Sub-Group to discuss Charter of Demands of Officers’ Associations was held on 14th January 2015 and Meetings of Sub-group on Proposed Health Insurance Scheme in lieu of the existing hospitalization reimbursement scheme and Sub-group to discuss Charter of Demands of Workmen Unions were held on 19.01.2015. 
 
It is to be noted that the earlier limits of Rs.2 lacs, Rs.3 lacs and Rs.4 lacs for Sub-ordinate Staff, Clerical Staff and Officers respectively were revised to Rs.3 lacs for both Sub-ordinate Staff and Clerical Staff and Rs.4 lacs to Officers, in the Health insurance Scheme.
IBA assured that would further pursue the matter with Government and deliberate in the Managing Committee Meeting of IBA scheduled to be held on the 31st January 2015 with all sincerity and hold discussions with UFBU in the first week of February 2015 to improve the offer further to reach finality. 
 
In the background of the assurance given by IBA, it was decided by UFBU to put the 4days’ strike form 21st to 24th January 2015 on hold.
 
On 03.02.2015, IBA backtracks from its assurance – offers a paltry 0.5% increase – UFBU decides to review the strike programmes – Calls for Four days’ strike from 25th to 28th February 2015 and Indefinite Strike from 16th March 2015 onwards.
 
On 20.02.2015, The Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) took initiative and called for conciliation at New Delhi, in which he requested both IBA and UFBU to amicably resolve the issue. IBA offered to have another round of negotiations provided UFBU call off its strike action. UFBU took a firm position that deferment of strike does not arise unless IBA substantially improves its offer.
 
On 23.02.2015, The perseverance and display of solidarity and unity of members ultimately yielded the desired results in the meeting held by IBA with UFBU on 23rd February 2015 on wage negotiations with mutual agreement on wage increase and some other important issues paving the way for smooth process in further negotiations towards expeditious Settlement on wage revision and other service conditions.
 
Agreed as under and Minutes of the Discussions were signed by UFBU & IBA:-
 
-   The wage revision will be effective from 01.11.2012.
-   The annual wage increase in the salary and allowances @ 15% which works out to Rs. 4725 crores on salary slip components.
-   The new scales will be constructed after merging dearness allowance corresponding 4440 points as on November 2011, which works out to 60.15% and adding a load factor of 2% on Basic pay plus Dearness Allowance as on 31st March 2012 amounting to around Rs. 597 crores (an increase in Basic Pay around 60% - 62%).
-   Every second and fourth Saturday of the month will be a holiday and other Saturdays will be full working days.


Finally on 25.05.2015, Xth Bi-Partite Settlement was signed between the Unions and IBA in Mumbai.
 
In 10th Wage Revision, Com. M.V. Murali, General Secretary, NCBE and Convenor of UFBU played a pivotal role in securing highest ever increase for bank employees and officers as seen from the following tables:-
 
IIIrd to IXth Wage Revisions at a Glance
 

 

 
       B.P.S.
 
   Increase Agreed     over Esstt. Exp.                in %
 
          Esstt. Expenses                     (Rs. in crores)
 
    Quantum of Increase        (Rs. in crores)
 
No. of   workmen
 
   Annual average per capita increase in Esstt. Exp. (Rs.)
III
12.00
      279   (31-3-79)
     33.50
3,50,000
     950
IV
14.50
      829   (31-3-83)
   120.26
5,45,000
 2,200
V
17.20
   1,576   (31-3-87)
   271.15
6,44,784
 4,200
VI
13.038
   3,700   (31-3-92)
   481.95
6,83,000
 7,050
VII
12.25
   6,676   (31-3-97)
   817.81
6,51,649
12,550
VIII
13.25
 9,683   (31-3-02)
1,288.00
5,51,414
23,360
IX
17.50
14,725.7 (31-3-07)
2,577.00
4,58,500
56,200

 
 Xth Wage Revision at a Glance
 

 

 
       B.P.S.
 
  Increase agreed     over Salary              Slip in %
 
     Salary Slip Expenses                   (Rs. in crores)
 
    Quantum of Increase             (Rs. in crores)
 
No. of    workmen
 
Annual average per capita increase in Salary Slip (Rs.)
X
15.00
   15,916  (31-3-12)
2270.35
4,52,164
50,210

 
The relentless struggle of NCBE to fight against injustice and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Bank employees of the country will continue. NCBE fought many a battle, suffered many tribulations, blazoned many trials, achieved many accolades but the march of NCBE will continue to achieve the desiderata of workers' emancipation.
**********************