Indian Banks' Association offers 6% wage hike; unions reject the offer

UFBU, which represents nine unions, had called a two-day strike on May 30 and May 31
The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) offered a higher wage hike of 6 per cent, against its previous offer of 2 per cent to bank unions on Monday, sources said.

“The bank management increased the offer to 6 per cent. However, the trade unions, represented by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), rejected the offer. The talks will, however, resume,” a spokesperson of the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) said.

The IBA and UFBU are slated to meet on August 28 to take the talks forward, sources said.

The current wage revision is due from November 2017, after the terms of the previous bipartite wage settlement ended in October 2017. In the last wage revision in 2012, which was for the period between November 1, 2012, and October 31, 2017, bank employees got a 15 per cent wage hike.

UFBU, which represents nine unions, had called a two-day strike on May 30 and May 31 against a low wage hike offered by public sector banks. The strike saw participation of around 1 million workers across the country. Banks, saddled with high level of bad loans, had expressed their inability to offer a higher wage hike.

During the meetings, bank unions argued that the wage hike should not be linked to bad loans of banks since it was “not disputed that employees were contributing significantly (towards functioning of banks) through their hard work.”

Various rounds of wage negotiations between banks and unions failed to make any headway.

Another point of contention for bank unions is the decision of six public sector banks (PSBs), including State Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Union Bank, to restrict wage negotiations to scale-III officers or up to the senior manager-level.

However, bank unions are demanding a wage hike for officers up to scale-VII grade, which include general managers, deputy general managers, assistant general manager and divisional managers. Recently, Punjab National Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Sunil Mehta told Business Standard in an interview that the bank was considering a performance-based variable pay for officers between scale-IV and scale-VII.