The current industrial unrest in banking industry which include an ongoing agitation in RBI deserves to be handled with care by opening doors for bilateral discussions. Time alone will not resolve the deep-rooted issues relating to job security, compensation and social security issues like those relating to pension.
This refers to the report “Bank staff to go on nation-wide strike on December 2” (Hindu Business Line, October 27). It is easy to brush aside AIBEA leader CH Venkatachalam’s observation that ‘Bilateralism is given a go-bye and unilateralism is sought to be made the rule. Law is ignored and trade union rights overlooked’ as just another morale-booster for the agitating workmen. But, it describes the approach of those in charge of HR management in government and private sector.
Time was, when government and managements took industrial unrest seriously and either resolved the issues affecting employees which caused such unrest or conveyed the message in clear language that the demands were unjust or unacceptable for valid reasons and restoring industrial peace was in mutual interest of management and workforce. Now, agitations by employees are seen as ‘games trade union leaders play’ and allowed to continue on an ongoing basis. Political and corporate interests take advantage of the situation.
Back to the bank employees’ agitation, one is at a loss to understand why bilateral negotiations are delayed till a strike materialises. Employee morale is crucial in banking industry. Once allowed to sag, no technology can retrieve it back to normalcy easily. In the RBI Annual report2014-15, Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan has flagged several HR-related issues within the central bank needing GOI support for resolution. They include a pension revision issue which is a quarter century old and a wage revision, delayed by three years now after the expiry of the previous settlement.

M G Warrier, Mumbai


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