State Bank of India’s management should reconsider the establishment of subsidiary State Bank Operations Support Services Private Ltd (SBOSS) as it would lead to outsourcing of basic banking functions and jobs and consequent risks and engagement of contract labour at cheaper wages, according to one of the bank’s trade unions.

“We apprehend that new forms of outsourcing of operations and jobs are being attempted through SBOSS. There are Industry-level agreements between the IBA (Indian Banks’ Association) and the Workmen Unions in regard to the jobs and areas that cannot be/can be outsourced.

“Attempts to circumvent these norms cannot be accepted,” alleged K S Krishna, General Secretary, All India State Bank of India Employees’ Association, in a letter to the Bank’s Deputy Managing Director (Human Resources)

Less manpower, more technology

SBI had informed the exchanges on August 8 that it has set up a wholly owned subsidiary SBOSS with a capital investment of ₹10 crore for providing support services and Business Correspondent activities to the bank’s branches and Retail Asset Credit Centres (RACCs) in rural and semi urban areas, as approved by the RBl.

“We learn that many of the functions and jobs currently performed in the branches are proposed to be hived off to this new subsidiary, the structure and systems of which are less manpower and more technology.

“With Operating (Employee) cost-cutting being the objective, it is apprehended that the nature of the manpower and employment will be informal and contractual,” Krishna said.

Ensuring security

He noted that the bank’s transaction processing/loan disbursements functions are handled by permanent and accountable Workforce, Officers and Employees, within the branches and are being done safely ensuring security and secrecy.

“That cannot be jeopardized through outsourcing. Whether it is deposit or loan, they have to be handled with integrity and safety. The obligations as to fidelity and secrecy undertaken by permanent Employees, Officers and Directors of the Bank under SBI Act will be absent in outsourced models,” Krishna said.