The Kerala Human Rights Commission has ordered an inquiry into the ‘stressful work conditions’ under which bank employees are made to work leading at least some of them, after failing to cope with intense pressure, to contemplate suicide .

K Baijunath, Judicial Member of the Commission, issued the order taking cognisance of media reports about KS Swapna, a lady branch manager of the Thokkilangadi branch (Koothuparamba, Kannur district) of Canara Bank and a widowed mother of two, committing suicide allegedly due to stressful working conditions.

Canara Bank asked to hold probe

The Commission has asked the Chief General Manager of the Kerala Circle of Canara Bank as well as the Regional Manager to hold a detailed inquiry into the incident and submit reports.

Separately, it has directed the State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), Kerala, to examine the issue of work pressure and stressful conditions in various banks in the state and submit a report within four weeks. AJ Antony, a Wayanad-based lawyer had submitted a petition to the Commission in this regard.

Third-party product sales

The complainant alleged that banks have been seeking to ‘sow huge profits’ by cutting down on the number of hands available at the branch level leaving the rest to cope with the additional work and raised targets. A suicide each was reported three months ago from Guruvayoor and eight months ago from Palakkad, he said.

The complainant charged that banks are trying to set targets for employees through sales of various third-party products and even non-related ones ranging from insurance and mutual fund to FASTag in recent times even in the midst of handling routine office work, PM Binukumar, Public Relations Officer of the Commission, said.

‘Staff shortage in banks’

All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOC) has stated on several platforms that bank officers at state-run banks are facing tremendous work pressure due to staff shortage and sale of third-party products like mutual funds which should be stopped.