The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), the association of bank employees of 19 nationalized commercial banks in the country, all of whom come under one or the other nine bank unions forming the Forum is, for quite some time now, in negotiation with the Indian Banks' Association (IBA), the body representing the different bank managements, over finalising the ninth industry-wide bipartite settlement.
Speaking to FE here on Sunday, G D Nadaf, general secretary, All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), who is also general secretary of the All India State Bank Officers Federation (AISBOF), said despite the seven-day nation-wide strike in 2006, the SBI management had done little towards improving its existing pension scheme.
The improvements are yet to come; we have already taken up the issue with the government, we want this issue also to be settled along with the industry-level ninth bipartite currently underway, said Nadaf.
Among the improvements being demanded by the AISBOF in the banks existing pension scheme are that the pension amount receivable by the employee should be 50% of his/her last earned basic pay; that all old pensioners from 1997-98 should also be brought under the fold of the improved scheme as such pensions relate to the 1991 pay-scale.
It also wants 100% neutralisation of dearness allowance (DA) in its pension scheme, which today is there only for employees who continue to serve the bank and not for its pensioners.
The AISBOF general secretary, who was here to attend the 19th triennial general body meeting of State Bank of India Officers Association (Patna circle), said the commutation formula in SBIs existing pension scheme too needed improvement as it was the worst in the industry. He said the federation also wants that SBI should incur a proportionate cost of that to be spent by the rest of the industry i.e Rs 6,300 crore for implementing the recently agreed second pension option for banking industry personnel other than SBI.
As SBI had in 1993 borne a proportionate cost in implementing the first industry-wide pension option, Nadaf said the bank should, this time too, share the cost with the rest of the industry in implementing thee second pension option for those who had been left out as it was an extension of the last scheme.
According to AISBOF general secretary, the proportionate cost which needed to be shared by SBI worked out to 6.4% of Rs 6,300 crore or Rs 403.20 crore.
The government has already put in place a new contributory pension scheme for the banking industry which comes into effect from April 1, 2010. This would be applicable to those joining the industry on or after that date, which, however, would not be applicable to officers and staff of the SBI.