Bank 9th Bipartite :Bank employees may have to wait little more for pay hike



There is always a slip between the cup and lip, as they say. And for nearly 8 lakh officers and employees waiting for their wage hike , the gap may not be bridged in a hurry. This is even as the Indian Banks Association (IBA) and United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have agreed upon a 17.5% wage hike.

But, there seems a devil hiding in the details of the proposed option to join the pension scheme for those who are out of the pension net currently. Issues like accounting for the cost of pension and its cost-sharing arrangement between bank management and employees have cropped up which is delaying the entire negotiation process. The wage revision is due from November 2007.

For starters, IBA and UFBU have now agreed upon a 17.5% wage hike over the establishment expenses of banks as on March 31, 2007. IBA, the body for the bank management, has also in principle agreed to offer the pension option to those who did not opt for it in 1993. Around 2.66 lakh public sector bank employees do not get monthly pension.

Even after agreeing on the second pension, IBA has put fresh conditions. It now wants employees to share a burden for building up the pension corpus. Then, the proposed introduction of New Pension Scheme (NPS) and variable pay are still need to be resolved, said All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) president Rajen Nagar. AIBEA is the largest bank union.

Top bankers who are part of the wage negotiation did not want to officially comment at this juncture. Yet, they have confirmed that IBA has agreed in principle to offer the second option for pension.

For the second pension option, banks (barring SBI) will have to shell out an additional Rs 6,000 crore collectively. IBA is also likely to consider pension option for bankers who retired before March 31, 2008 and are out of the purview of pension scheme.

Although, both the parties have in principle agreed to the core issues, some details are yet to be worked out, said State Bank of India’s employee’s association s general secretary for Bengal circle, Shyamal Karmakar. However, this pension issue does not really bother SBI employees who are always entitled to pensions.

However, UFBU -- the umbrella organisation for nine leading bank unions -- is not also comfortable with the IBA s proposal to introduce NPS for bankers joining after April 2010. We want the old pension scheme to continue till October 31, 2012. We have committed that unions will discuss the issue of NPS after this. Mr Nagar said. Incidentally, the ninth bipartite settlement will be valid till October 31, 2012.

We are also against the concept of variable pay. It deteriorates performance rather than improving it, Mr Nagar opined.
Source : Economic Times.

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