Friday, 7 March 2008

Pensionery benefits in Banking Industry

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There was a time when there was nothing like any provision for pension to employees serving in Banking Industry during British rule in the country. The initiative on this count was taken during the three Presidency Banks -Bank of Bengal, Bank of Bombay, Bank of Madras later implemented in the shape of contributory pension where employees, like in the case of Provident Fund, had to contribute towards their pension which used to get supplemented by the bankers forming pension fund. Unions taking up the matter strongly, it became a full fledged Pension Fund without employees contributing any thing and this measure was first of all adopted by State Bank of India (then Imperial Bank of India as it emerged after merger of the three presidency banks). All India State Bank of India Staff Federation, the single important most union in State Bank took further lead and several finishing touches were given to improve pension benefits. A demand was later made by other unions operating in other commercial banks to claiming parity with State Bank on pension. State Bank employees infact had in all three benefits together -Pension including Family Pension, Provident Fund and also Gratuity. As it operates now, the benefits more or less on this count are the same in all commercial banks with minor variations. Certain glaring anomalies in the system are a matter of dispute which includes demand for a more liberalised rate of pension for the retired employees. The issue however has till date failed elicit any tangible results. Talks, meetings,negotiations and then nothing like any result. The strike(s) that took place on this issue also failed to bring any outcome for the reason that it is not being followed up with an earnest seriousness the issue demands. Raising issue and then not following it in a required direction hardly succeeds and that is how it continues hanging in the balance.

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