12 Bipartite Settlement
In this article, we will discuss the Charter of Demands for the 12th Bipartite Settlement, which aims to revise the salary and service conditions of bank employees. This settlement is scheduled to be effective from November 1, 2022. The Bank Unions have submitted the final Charter of Demands to the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
Status of Charter of Demands
Four Officers’ Associations, namely, AIBOC, AIBOA, INBOC, and NOBO, jointly submitted the Charter of Demands to the IBA on October 21, 2022. The negotiations on the demands of bankers will now commence. Let’s take a look at the historical trend of the time taken for the previous bipartite settlements.
Broad Summary of Charter of Demands
The Charter of Demands for the 12th Bipartite Settlement includes various key points:
Salary and Pay Scale Revisions
- Wage revision should consider the risk, responsibility, accountability, and transferability of officers. The Basic Pay should be improved to match that of Central Government Officers, RBI officers, and LICI Officers.
- The base date for calculating the quantum hike in the settlement should be the establishment expenditure as of September 30, 2022, instead of the current practice of March 31 of the wage revision year.
- Pay scales should be revised by merging Dearness Allowance (DA) up to August 1, 2022.
- Special Allowance, along with DA as of October 31, 2022, should be merged with the existing Basic Pay.
- A revised DA formula should be implemented, with provisions for automatic merger with Basic Pay (similar to the Central Government) and better compensation against price rise.
Increments and Promotions
- All existing Stagnation Increments up to Scale V should be converted into regular increments after one year of reaching the maximum of the respective present scales. This will address the present anomaly in fitment during promotions.
- The sanction of annual increments should be effective on January 1 and July 1 of every year.
- The existing embargo on stagnation increment, automatic movement, increment in the next higher scale, and PQP (Professional Qualification Pay) for officers who have refused promotion or opted out should be removed. Enforcing such an embargo is against natural justice and can be considered a major penalty.
Allowances and Benefits
- HRA (House Rent Allowance) should be upwardly revised to align with market rents.
- Self Lease for officers should be introduced.
- Significant increase in City Compensatory Allowance (CCA) and Location Allowance (for non-CCA centers) for all.
- Substantial enhancement of Learning Allowance.
- Quarterly payment of Closing Allowance to compensate officers for the increased workload during quarterly results declarations.
- Improvement in the lump sum amount as compensation for transfers and two months’ salary to cover incidental expenses.
- Increase in the lump sum amount for mid-academic transfers equivalent to three months’ gross salary to meet the educational expenses of children.
- Review and rationalization of halting/boarding/traveling expenses, Hill Area Allowance, etc.
- Introduction of incentives for rural and other sensitive/difficult areas.
- Improvement in Special Area Allowance and Special Compensatory Allowance for areas such as N.E. (North East), Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Leh, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, and red corridor/disturbed areas.
- Enhancement of Leave Fare Concession (LFC) and monetization of LFC. All officers should be entitled to air travel, and LFC abroad should be restored within domestic entitlement.
Special Provisions and Working Conditions
- Special provisions for women employees regarding placement, postings, provision of crèche facility as per government guidelines, flexi timings, work from home, and child care leave with salary, as applicable in the Central Government.
- Introduction of a 5-day work week.
- Defining and regulating working hours for officers according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) norms.
- Substantial increase in the income criteria for dependents.
- Provident Fund contribution should be at the rate of 12% of the total salary and allowances.
- Payment of gratuity at the rate of one month’s salary and allowance without any ceiling. Improvements should be made as per regulations.
- Reverting to the existing pension scheme for all those enrolled in the National Pension System (NPS).
- Extending pension benefits to pension optees upon resignation.
- Updating the pension in line with the Central Government and the principle of One Rank One Pension.
- Allowing the encashment of the entire leave balance upon resignation.
- Improvements in all leave facilities and the introduction of the concept of a leave bank.
- Rolling back the IBA Medical Insurance policy for serving officers and retirees, implementing individual bank-level policies.
- Ensuring uniformity in loans and advances to officers by adopting the best policies. Banks should pay the road tax on vehicles during inter-state transfers.
Employee Rights and Welfare
- Review of Disciplinary Rules Procedure, including the provision of personal hearing for charge-sheeted officers in major penalty proceedings accompanied by a Defense representative.
- Classification of lapses into major and minor penalties.
- Clarification should be issued to banks, based on the principle of Ex Post Facto in the legal framework, that any alleged lapse committed by an employee while working as a workman but detected when the employee is an officer should be tried under bipartite rules rather than officers’ D&A (Discipline and Appeal) regulations.
- Banks should bear the full legal expenses in cases against any serving or retired officer related to banking work, except in cases of fraud perpetrated by the officer.
- Increasing the present ceiling of 3% of net profit for welfare activities to 5% of operating profit without any ceiling for staff welfare.
- Uniform categorization of branches for all banks by the IBA and RBI.
- Massive recruitment of officers, clerical staff, subordinate staff, and security guards is required.
- Completion of compassionate grounds appointments within a six-month period.
The Charter of Demands for the 12th Bipartite Settlement addresses various aspects related to salary revisions, promotions, allowances, benefits, special provisions, working conditions, and employee rights. It aims to improve the overall working environment and welfare of bank employees. The negotiations between the Bank Unions and the Indian Banks’ Association will determine the outcome of this settlement.