After several rigorous negotiations for three years, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) announced the conclusion of the 11th Bipartite Wage Negotiations with bank unions and officers’ associations last week. On 22 July this year, the bank employees’ unions and IBA had entered into a memorandum of understanding for an annual wage hike of 15%. IBA chief executive Sunil Mehta said in a statement: “The Indian Banks’ Association is pleased to announce the conclusion of 11th Bipartite Wage Negotiations with bank unions and associations to be effective from 1 November 2017. The agreement reached today provides for a 15% increase in the payslip.” According to the statement, a detailed bipartite settlement/joint note has been signed with the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), representing four Workmen Unions and four Officers’ Associations and also Bank Karamchari Sena Mahasangh (BKSM), who were parties to the agreement. As per reports, this new wage revision would entail an additional yearly outgo of Rs 7,898 crore for the banks. However, there is still a sense of discontent among bankers. Several bank employees told The Sunday Guardian there are still some issues that have not been resolved.

“Most of the demands, primarily five-day banking, were not fulfilled this time. Bankers are very much aggrieved as on basic pay hike, only 2.50% hike load factor has been added. Rest 12.50% will be distributed in allowances. Also, they introduced a special allowance which only attracts DA, but no superannuation benefit i.e. no PF deduction, despite the court orders that special allowance should be treated as part of basic pay and should have a contribution in superannuation PF deduction,” said Ashish Mishra, General Secretary, We Bankers Association, Uttar Pradesh.

“Now, unions like AIBEA and BEFI are demanding 4% levy from members from their arrears. On average, say, every banker gets an arrear of Rs 1,00,000, he has to pay an extortion money levy of Rs 4,000 in a union fund account; otherwise, he or she will be harassed by unions as well as bank managements. All delay is due to the collection of levy from arrear which added fuel to the fire,” Mishra said.

Last week, the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) released a statement notifying its members that the levy contributions will be collected from arrears paid to the employees. “With the signing of the 11th Bipartite Settlement, managements will be taking steps to implement the settlement, and the new pay scales and allowances, etc. will be implemented. Arrears of wage increase from 1-11-2017 will also be paid to the employees. In order to augment to financial resources of our unions, it has been decided that levy contributions from our members are to be collected from out of arrears to the employees,” AIBEA’s notification stated. Another union, Bank Employees Federation of India also asked its members to contribute the levy. “We call upon all our members, who will be paid arrears, to voluntarily contribute to the union levy @ 4% of their gross arrears, less PF contribution and applicable income tax thereon,” the notification of BEFI stated. Several union members also told The Sunday Guardian that few unions decided not to take levy but mostly in officers’ union. However, workmen union AIBEA and others are in favour of taking levy. Unions like the State Bank of India Officers’ Association (Lucknow and Jaipur circle) stated that they have decided not to demand any levy on account of the Salary Revision Settlement.