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Mumbai/Thiruvananthapuram, June 2

BANK unions and the Indian Banks Association today concluded the wage agreement, allowing higher pay and payment of arrears for bank employees.

As per the recommendations, bank employees will get arrears of wages from November 1, 2002 to May 31, 2005. This works out to Rs 692 crore per annum, distributed under various heads, said Mr R J Sridharan, General Secretary of All India Bank Officers Association.

Over 2 lakh officers and over 5 lakh award staff from 27 public sector banks and 13 old private sector banks will benefit from these arrears.

The basic pay for bank employees will increase by 8.22 per cent post the wage revision, said Mr Alok Khare, President, AIBOA, a representation of four officers unions and five award staff unions.

The basic scale for officers, which was in the range of Rs 7,100-23,000, will increase to between Rs 10,000 and Rs 32,600 post the revision.

Another significant feature of the recommendations is dearness allowance compensation, which has been raised from 75 per cent to 100 per cent.

"The per capita rise will be Rs 3,750 per officer," said Mr Sridharan.

The pension scheme, which was reduced to 42 per cent of the last drawn pay in 1997, has been restored to 50 per cent.

AIBOA has also asked bank managements to introduce the pension scheme again and a decision is likely in a couple of months, Mr Khare said. The latest settlement provides for the highest hike announced so far in the industry, sources in the All-India Bank Officers' Confederation said on condition of anonymity. This is also the first time that the new scales will come into effect retrospectively from the date of expiry of the earlier agreement (November 1, 2002).

AIBOC has also been able to extract a promise from the IBA that bipartite negotiations on extending pension benefits to provident fund optees will be continued.

Another highlight of the revised settlement is the introduction of encashment of leave travel facility. Allowances, including halting allowance, have been revised and improved upon. Demands relating to hospitalisation charges, which remained unchanged during the last settlement, have been considered favourably and improved upon, the sources said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 3, 2005)
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