This refers to “Bank mergers cast shadow on wage talks’’ (September 5). The stand being taken by the union representing bank staff is baffling. After coming to the negotiating table with a 15 per cent wage hike, they are now upping the ante and seeking a 20 per cent hike. The justification for this demand is on the ground that the gap between what bank employees earn when compared to those in government’s equivalent grade has widened.
Public sector banks are in a bad shape. The offer of 10 per cent hike by the Indian Banks’ Association should be seen as reasonable. Comparisons with government’s equivalent grade is out of sync. When profits are not being generated, expecting grandiose hikes is preposterous. Now with the big bang merger that will crunch the number of banks, it would be prudent to defer the wage revision till the merger exercise is over.
While seeking the hike, are any matching responsibilities being promised? Will the clerk at the branches become more responsive to customer needs? Will there be proactive customer service? Will there be productivity benchmarks comparable to industry standards? The promise of there being no job loss on account of the merger seems too farfetched. Public sector banks are part of the overall universe and cannot be insulated against the ongoing trend. When corporates merge, there is pain and separation of excess staff.
K V Premraj, Mumbai
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