Ignoring banks’ pleas, IBA opts for collective wage revision

Overruling some major banks, most members of the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) have opted for a collective wage revision rather than individual negotiations. Earlier, some profitable banks, like State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda, had demanded that by being allowed to conduct their own wage negotiations as a collective exercise by IBA would not do justice to their employees. The argument of a few big banks for their own wage negotiation exercise is that since the productivity, profitability and responsibility of their employees are way above the rest of the industry, they merit a better compensation package to ward off poachers in a highly competitive job market.

However, they couldn't muster enough numbers in support of their stand in IBA, the representative body of the Indian banking industry.

MBN Rao, chairman of IBA, said it was decided to request banks to place the charter of demands before the respective boards of directors and seek their approval for giving the mandate to IBA to negotiate with the unions/associations on their behalf or do it themselves. Currently out of 47 banks that were parties to VIII Bipartite Settlement, IBA has received mandates from 38 banks — 25 public sector banks, nine private sector banks and four foreign banks. Rao says the IBA managing committee had discussed the issue of bipartite negotiations at length. Different views were expressed by the members and it was generally felt the time was right to take a fresh look and bring about a change in the compensation structure and service conditions of bank employees, more so of officers, keeping in mind the competitive pressure and the need to remain in alignment with the market trend.

"Normally, the negotiation process takes two years before a settlement is arrived at. MV Nair, chairman & managing director of Union Bank of India, has been appointed the chairman of the negotiating committee. The negotiation process will start by the month-end and I hope IBA will expeditiously conclude the wage revision this time," said Rao.

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