By Com. C.P Krishnan
(Reproduced from www.bankworkersunity.com; May 7, 2022)
On 27th April, 2022 Bank of Baroda (BOB) Management issued guidelines to all Zonal and Regional authorities to outsource the job of sweeping/cleaning at branches/offices throughout the country. The Unions affiliated to AIBEA, NCBE, BEFI & NOBW in BOB, representing nearly 100% of the workmen, have jointly decided to launch a serious struggle against this move of the BOB Management to outsource sweeping/cleaning job at the branches and offices.
Violation of industry wide Bipartite Settlement
The unions opine that the Bank has been unilaterally implementing its decisions on the employees of the Bank that are not only detrimental to the award staff but also violates the provisions of the industry-level Settlements. They also strongly feel that BOB management is moving towards privatization by outsourcing and this is big a menace that will kill the jobs, stop recruitment and ultimately abolish the cadre.
Sweeping and housekeeping is a permanent and perennial kind of job. Outsourcing this job is in total contravention of the provisions of the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970, wherein it clearly prohibits engaging on contract such work that are perennial and permanent in nature.
Clause 31(h) of the VIII Industry-wide Bipartite Settlement dated 2.6.2005 clearly states that “while it shall be banks’ endeavour to retrain/re-skill staff and to develop in-house competencies, they may outsource IT and its related activities in respect of specialised areas where in-house capability is not available.” Hence sweeping job where in-house capability is very much available cannot be outsourced.
No recruitment of clerks
For the past two years BOB Management has not placed any indent with the IBPS for clerical recruitment. The Management wants to double the number of Business Correspondents (BCs) through whom it wants to get the clerical jobs done. Therefore, it is a concerted attack on the jobs and job security of the award staff.
While several representations have been made by all the struggling unions to the BOB Management to give up its sinister attempt to outsource jobs of workmen, there has not been any positive response from the BOB Management. Hence the leaders of the four unions affiliated to AIBEA, NCBE, BEFI & NOBW have met on 2nd May 2022 and decided to call for joint struggles. The struggle programmes include poster campaign, deputation to Regional and Zonal heads, submission of joint memorandum, black badge wearing, demonstrations before all Regional Offices and Zonal offices, dharna before Zonal offices and deputation by All India Office Bearers to the Executives at Corporate Centre commencing from 6th May and concluding on 23rd May. If the Management still fails to respond, then joint strike will be conducted.
BEFI’s representation to IBA
Meanwhile, Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) has written a letter to IBA on 30th April 2022 stating that the management of Bank of Baroda has decided to outsource the sweeping/cleaning jobs and necessary guidelines are issued in this regard. BEFI has further stated that the outsourcing of cleaning/sweeping job tantamounts to gross violation of industry level settlement and it has expressed its strong reservation to such violation and has urged upon IBA to intervene so that the BOB management refrains from doing such act.
Victory of the struggle is paramount
Many banks including State Bank of India, Bank of India, Canara Bank, Indian Overseas Bank resort to outsourcing of permanent and perennial jobs. This is the agenda of the Union Government to ‘trim’ the Public Sector Banks before privatisation. This has to be resisted jointly both at the Bank level and the industry level. The joint struggle in BOB is one such important step and the victory of this struggle is paramount to protect the interest of the Bank, the public sector character of the Bank, jobs of the thousands of youth and more importantly social justice.