The strike called by employeesof the apex National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) for Tuesday (August 30) has been deferred to September 15 after marathon discussions with the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central), Mumbai, that ended last (Monday) night.

Rana Mitra, General Secretary, All-India Nabard Employees Association (AINBEA), said among those who were present during the discussions were representatives of the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance; Nabard; and both the AINBEA and All-India Nabard Officers Association (AINBOA). Mitra thanked Tej Bahadur, Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner (Central), Mumbai, for facilitating the meeting.

Patience wearing thin

Employee associations want to make it abundantly clear to the Nabard management and DFS the ‘monumental patience’ of employees cannot be tested for much long, Mitra said. “We have made clear two points: one, we will only wait up to September 15 for further strike in Nabard, and two, the draft memorandum of settlement and record of bipartite discussions between the management and the AINBEA dated February 18, and the entire proposal passed in the meeting of Board of Directors of Nabard on March 16, should be cleared by the DFS as it is.”

Real wages have eroded

Nabard employees have witnessed their real wages erode significantly in the last several months. “Let them at least get some relief now through recourse to their legitimate dues, formalised after several rounds of discussions. Any further delay will be fraught with unwelcome repercussions and employees will not be responsible if Nabard gets embroiled in a protracted industrial turmoil.”. Mitra said employees expected a ‘more proactive role by the management’ in Monday’s talks. “A settlement to the festering issue through whatever fora is the sole responsibility of the management.”

RBI union extends solidarity

Meanwhile, in a note of solidarity, Samir Ghosh, General Secretary, All-India Reserve Bank Employees Association, regretted that the impasse in Nabard continues even after all formalities have been completed, detailed discussions held between employees and the management, and a settlement reached and approved by the Board of Directors. But apparently, it has got stuck at DFS for too long. Nabard employees have had not option but to agitate and their agony is understandable, Ghosh added.