Unhappy with the wage settlement, 80 per cent of State Bank of India (SBI) officers in the senior management grade have resigned from the membership of the officers’ association. The finer details of the industrywide wage revision for bank employees have already been worked out and the agreement will be made official next week. “There has been an exodus from the officers’ association from the Mumbai Corporate centre alone”, said an employee involved in the issue. Referring to the dissatisfaction among officers, TN Goel, president of the All-India State Bank of India Officers’ Federation, said the basic issue with the decision for just a 17.5 per cent hike, which was making it difficult to structure the pay scales. Hence, various groups feel they are getting a raw deal. Specific issues regarding SBI staff and officers will be taken up after the industry-level pact is signed. However, SBI officials who have resigned from the association are of the view that the wage negotiations are more focused on issues other than a decent wage package. Officers allege that the first priority of the present settlement is giving a second pension option to those who did not opt for the scheme in 1993. The second priority of the settlement had been providing “stagnation increments” to officers in scale I to III, they said.
The position in the SBI cadre increases in an ascending order from scale I to scale V. Scale IV and V comprise senior management. “The stagnation benefit creates an anomalous situation whereby a person in a lower scale, who was either not found fit for promotion or did not opt for promotion, draws the same basic salary as a person who is shouldering higher responsibilities after being promoted to a higher scale. Moreover, the wage settlement does not extend the same benefit to scale IV or V officers, where stagnation is more than 12 years and is followed by frequent transfers”, they said. “The most objectionable part of the settlement is that the representatives of the SBI officers’ association, rather than struggling for higher wages for members, have settled for less. This is because IBA had proposed pay scales of Rs 15,000-54000 as increase in basic salary across the board whereas the association settled for Rs 14,500-52,000”, said the officers. GD Nadaf, general secretary, All India Bank Officers’ Association, said that from around two-and-a-half years of arrears, employees opting for the second pension scheme might have to forgo seven to eight months of arrears as contribution to the pension fund in lieu of the provident fund.