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DISCUSSIONS WITH IBA ON WAGE REVISION DEMANDS

After the last round of negotiations held on 14-3-2014, another round of discussions took place with IBA on 13-6-2014 in Mumbai in the background of the new Government taking over at the Centre after the general elections.

UFBU meeting: Prior to the discussions with the IBA, meeting of the UFBU was held. The meeting observed a minutes' silence to pay homage on the death of Dr Shanti Patel, veteran trade union leader of HMS and Port and Dock Workers. The meeting took stock of the developments since our last meeting held in March, 2014. The meeting welcomed the new Government under the Prime Ministership of Shri Narendra Modi and hoped that the basic problems of the people and workers would be addressed by the new Government. The meeting noted that in addition to the pending demands of UFBU for wage revision, there are other challenges too like the recommendations of P J Nayak Committee, talks of dilution of Government's capital in Banks, merger of Banks, etc. The meeting decided to take a delegation of UFBU to the Finance Minister to apprise him of our issues and demands.

Discussions with IBA: In the wage revision talks, the IBA was represented by Mr. T M Bhasin, Chairman of the Negotiating Committee along with other members. UFBU was represented by all the Constituent Unions.

Opening up the discussions, Mr. Bhasin explained the present banking scenario where the profits of the Banks have come down as on 31-3-2014 adding to the constraints of the Banks to take up any huge financial burden in the form of wages. After submissions from UFBU, IBA informed that they are willing to improve their offer from earlier 10% to 11% on the cost of Pay Slip components of the wage bill which would amount to Rs.3,465 crores and which would be exclusive of other costs on retirement benefits, LFC, hospitalization expenses, etc. From UFBU, we expressed our inability to accept this offer as the same was quite inadequate.

As regards other issues discussed with the IBA in the last two rounds of discussions, IBA informed that they are favourably inclined to consider the demand of extending 100% DA for all pensioners and the same is awaiting the approval of the Government. On our demand for improvement in Family Pension, IBA's response was positive but they informed that the cost implication has to be properly worked out and Government's approval is necessary for the same. As regards updation of pension, IBA was apprehensive about the same since it involves substantial financial burden to the Banks. IBA also informed that our demand for extending appointment on compassionate grounds in the Banks on the lines of Government scheme is under the active and positive consideration of the Government and their decision is awaited.

Since UFBU refused to accept the IBA's offer of 11% increase, IBA wanted to know the expectation of the UFBU for which it was informed that our minimum expectation is 25% increase in the Pay Slip components cost. IBA expressed their total inability to accept the same as it is beyond the paying capacity of the Banks.

With this, the talks ended inconclusively. Thereafter UFBU decided that since IBA has not come up with any adequate increase in their offer, further course of action would be taken shortly after mutual consultations amongst the Constituent Unions and also after meeting the Finance Minister in this regard.

Further developments would be informed to units in due course.