As the Indian Banks’ Association and the United Forum of Bank Unions return to the negotiating table on Friday at the directive of the Chief Labour Commissioner, the bank unions are likely to demand a 30 per cent rise in gross pay.

Though a wage-revision settlement, to be in force for five years, might still be far away, the outcome at Friday’s bilateral talks will determine if the January 20-21 all-India bank strike will take place.

“If the IBA takes a positive and reasonable approach to our demands, we will call off the 48-hour strike,” UFBU convenor M.V. Murali told Business Line. “But if they keep harping on the old stand, we will go ahead with the strike.”

The bilateral talks are being held at the instance of the Central Chief Labour Commissioner, who held a round of conciliation talks with the two sides on January 13 in New Delhi. The talks on the wage-revision pact were held in view of the unions’ decision to go on with the strike.

The CLC, B.K. Sanwariya, had asked the IBA to advance the bilateral talks, scheduled for January 29, to January. 17. There was an agreement at the tri-partite talks not to drag the wage negotiations on for long and wrap up the process by June.

Asked about the quantum of pay hike the unions would press for at the negotiations, Murali said: “We are asking for a 30 per cent increase in the gross pay received by bank employees and officers.”

He said this was very reasonable in view of the double-digit price rise in the country and increasing workload of the bank staff.

The IBA, which represents the managements of nationalised, private and foreign banks in the country, had offered only a 5 per cent rise in the ‘payslip component’ of salary. “Actually, this will mean about 3 per cent of the gross pay,” Murali rued.

basheer.kpm@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 16, 2014)
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