Bank Employees Revolt, Pen Strong Letter to FM Jaitley, Call for All India Protest on December 28

Published on: December 25, 2016
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The Indian National Bank Empolyees Federation has, in a letter dated. December 22, 2016 to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley highlighted the fact that Bank employees have been used by the Modi government as the proverbial ‘fall guys’ to deal with public wrath following Notebandi (demonetization).

Meanwhile, PTI reports that the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) have issued a call for a demonstration against the problems that various banks and their employees are facing due to demonetisation. The union will hold demonstrations on 28 December, followed by the addressing of another letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on December 29, the two bank unions said. The union members also plan to demonstrate over the issue on  January 2 and 3, 2017.

The letter by the National Bank Employees Federation states that

“...we emphatically like to submit that the Bank employees has been used by the Govt. as a front door bloke to tackle the agitated public who has suffered a lot due to unexpected wave of financial concerns.
 In order to tackle the rush over the counter, the employees, in tune with the Ministers /govt. officials' assurances in respect of deposit of banned currency notes in to the depositors account till December 30,2016 had all along advised the customers to wait for a comparative congenial atmosphere and not to act in haste to deposit banned notes into their accounts.

" Now, when the situation has been eased to some extent and the customers are coming to deposit Rs. 500/1000 Notes in their a/c, they are subjected to questioners' by the same persons tackling the customers over the counter and this is really awesome, as the Bank employees are not like Govt. bureaucrats or politicians to change their stand every now and then to suit their convenience.
"On the question of dishonesty on the part of the Bank employees, we, for last 10 years are requesting the Govt. of India to fix accountabilities of the Govt. nominated Chairman/EDs of various public sector Banks as they have no service conditions like other employees and we have enough reasons to believe that they have nexus with the sky high NPA's as well as bad debts write-off in the Banking Industry causing enormous damage to our economy. We have no hesitation to say, that the plight of NPA and bad debt write-off are like high mountains in comparison to small mounds of black money which are supposed to be wiped out through demonetisation. Curiously the GOI is tight lipped on the matter and also are not submitting their affidavit to the judiciary as is required before the Hon'ble High court of Mumbai.

"As the Bank employees are duty bound to carry on the instructions of the higher authorities, they are being used as a human wall against the dissatisfied mob and on December 21,2016 they have been assaulted in many parts of the country. It is unfortunate that due to frequent changes in the policy matters, the employees over the counter are themselves bewildered to follow guidelines envisaged by the RBI/GOI. It will not be out of place to mention that the same thing has happened while receiving currency notes printed before 2005 from the customers.
"We, through your good office like to request the GOI/RBI to arrive at a mind-set before issuing an instruction concerning demonetisation and also examine the impact and possible reaction of the Banking public to save the Bank employees from the wrath of the common public.
"We, further request you to ask the RBI/Head of the PSBs to make a proper plan to cater the need of the common public for withdrawal of their money from their a/c from 01.01.2017 and do the needful, so that Bank employees do not face the wrath of the public like the episode of first week of December 2016."
"AIBEA General Secretary CH Venkatchalam and his AIBOA counterpart S Nagrajan in a statement issued on Tuesday, December 20  said:
As per the call of our organisations, already our units have undertaken the programme of demonstrations in all major centres and met the local executives of RBI to hand over our memorandum.

The unions have demanded that the RBI ensure supply of adequate cash to all banks and branches, restore all ATMs without further delay, and ensure transparency in cash supply to banks. If RBI is not able to supply adequate cash to banks, then decision should be taken to suspend cash transactions in the bank branches till sufficient cash is supplied to banks.

They have also demanded a CBI inquiry into the seizures of huge numbers of new currency notes with some big persons when the bank branches are cash-starved.The unions further demanded compensation to the families of the people and bank staff who lost their lives recently due to demonetisation.

The statement asked RBI and state governments to ensure safety and protection of bank employees and officers by maintaining law and order in all branches to prevent harassment of the staff.

They also want proper compensation to employees and officers for their extra work/late sittings done in the last month or more.

Both the unions claim to have over 5.50 lakh members out of the nearly 9 lakh bank employees in the country.

The RBI on last Tuesday (December 20) modified guidelines saying KYC compliant account holders can deposits more than Rs 5,000 in old currency notes without being questioned by bank officials.Earlier this week, the RBI issued a notification directing banks to conduct due diligence of customers who wish to deposit more than Rs 5,000 in old currency till December 30.
"The credit in such cases shall be afforded only after questioning tenderer, on record, in the presence of at least two officials of the bank, as to why this could not be deposited earlier and receiving a satisfactory explanation," RBI had said.

"The instructions issued vide the RBI communication dated December 19 must be withdrawn forthwith as the banker shall not carry out the duties of CBI/ED/IB at the busy counters," AIBOC General Secretary Harvinder Singh said in a representation to RBI Governor. No accountability should be fixed on the bank officers in this respect as they are thrust with a role not expected of them, it added.

"Having demanded this, we strongly feel that withdrawal of the instruction itself will only confirm the Prime Minister's statement to the public on November 8 and improve public confidence in the banking system and reduce the
hardships faced by the officers at counters," it said.

Pointing out that the banking system itself is losing credibility because of frequent changes in RBI/Government policies, Singh said customer dissatisfaction is increasing because of chaos and confusion created in implementation of the scheme."Bank Officers are being subjected to the anger, anguish and wrath of customers or general public due to short supply of currency notes to the banks, particularly to Public Sector banks," it said.

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