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    Monday, 18 December 2017


    Regulated Working Hours AND Reduced Transaction Hours

    (Registered under the Trade Unions Act 1926, Registration No.:3427/Delhi)
    State Bank of India Officers’ Association
    04th Floor, SBI Administrative Unit, No. 86, Rajaji Salai, Chennai- 600 001

    Circular No. 2017/64

    To All Affiliates/State Units

    Dear Comrades,

    Regulated Working Hours & Reduced Transaction Hours

    Forwarding the Note submitted to IBA by the 4 Officers Organisations on Regulated Working Hours & Reduced Transaction Hours in addition to the Charter of Demands, the contents of which are self explicit. Kindly discuss. Please get articles written in Newspapers supporting our cause

    With greetings,

    General Secretary

    Date: 27th October 2017

    Note on Regulated Working Hours & Reduced Transaction Hours

    Banking sector is a ―service industry‖ and currently PSU Bank officers don't have any fixed working hours and are expected to sit late hours without compensation and that is a practice of British Imperial Regime. Regulated working hours has been a long standing demand of the officers from the year 1966. The Bank Officers Organisations has placed this demand from the time of their formation, because of which some developments have taken place. But, with the reduction in employee‘s strength due to embargo on recruitment for 10 years and introduction of voluntary retirements schemes the work load of officers have increased at an alarming proportion.

    Thousands of Branches of different Banks are managed by single officers where it is impossible to complete the work within the working hours. Today, it has become common for officers to work from 9 am to 9 pm, which stands way above the standard norm of 40 hours in a week practised in many developed countries. In addition to that introduction of e-corners, point of sales machines, increase in ATMs and with number of business correspondents all of which have to be monitored, officers practically are working late and also on holidays without proper remuneration.

    With the introduction of Cheque Truncation System the RBI has reduced the number of holidays and practically those who are working in the clearing system have to compulsorily work late and also on holidays. Moreover, the Government frequently gives us targets like the one under the Jan Dhan Yojana, Linkage of Aadhaar cards and Income Tax Collection. Off late the National Lok Adalats were also conducted on 2nd and 4th Saturdays.

    On many occasions, Banks have to keep the branches open on holidays under the instructions of the Govt of India. All these led to acute fatigue among the officer fraternity and which led to reduction in the productivity of the officers too. Whereas the award staff gets overtime for sitting late or for working on holidays, officers either get nothing or a paltry sum. So it has become imperative to have regulated working hours.

    Due to untoward incidents like robbery and insurgent attack the Police department has issued instructions repeatedly in many states to the Banks to close the branches before it gets dark. With the advent of digital banking platform and the aggressive promotion of the same after the demonetisation exercise paves way for the regulated working hours for the bank officials but on the contrary bank officials are forced to work on extended hours as well as on the holidays to promote the same. All these led to a contrary move in providing regulated working hours to the officer community.

    “Article 42 of the constitution directs the State to make a provision for securing just and humane conditions of work (at work places). Article 43 of the constitution directs the State to secure conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and culture opportunities by making a suitable legislation or in any other way. Thus the State is under an obligation to make it possible for the employees to work in genuine and human conditions of work.”

    Upholding the spirit of article 12 of the Constitution the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has also passed a number of decisions that Public Corporations and Undertakings fall within the inclusive definition of 'State'.

    The International Labour Conventions have provided for regulation of working hours. In USA, average working hours is 33 hours in five days. In Australia it is 38 hours. In France it is 30 hours and in Netherlands 27 hours in a week. In France working after 6 pm is banned and in some countries workers who work beyond 8 hours do not get insurance coverage. In our Country also, the demand for 8 hours work came 26 years before the Chicago struggle led by the Railway workers of Howrah and today in the Government as well as the Private Sector 8 hours work is regulated. In the Banking Industry, the Reserve Bank of India has introduced regulated working hours officially on 12 July 2012 along with flexible timing. Even IDBI Bank has regulated working hours from 2009. A study of the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who worked 55 hours per week performed poorly on some mental tasks than those who worked 40 hours per week. Hence, it is imperative for us to bring regulated working hours with a stipulation of 8 hours work. In case of emergency where the officer has to work beyond this they have to be compensated with 150% of the pay which is almost Universal.

    Our country is heading towards digital economy. After demonetization, customers are forced to migrate to digitalization. Digital transactions have doubled as per RBI report with banks increasing POs machines by 95% with debit card. Usage at POs terminals has doubled to 265 million in Aug 2017 from 131 million last year . (TOI dated 24.10.2017) Since the Government of India wanted to reduce the circulation of currency and to push digitalization, the banking industry can reduce the business hours by 2 hours which helps banks to divert the employees for Marketing, NPA Recovery etc.. At present women comprise about 24% of the workforce of Public Sector Banks. As per Parliament Committee on Empowerment of Women, the respective Public Sector Banks and Ministry of Finance should evolve some concrete strategy to attract women so that their strength in work could be increased.

    Work Life Balance is an important area of Human Resource Management which is gaining more attention from Policy Makers, Organizations, Management, Researchers, Employees, and their representatives globally. The pressure of the workload and personal life can lead to stress. According to a study, it has been found that such situations affect an individual health both physiologically and psychologically. The Work Life Balance policies and programs are investments in an organization for improving productivity, reducing absenteeism, achieving improved customer services, better health, flexible working as well as satisfied and motivated workforce especially in banking industry. Employees are the pillars of the organization whose needs should be adequately taken care of.

    The mounting NPA can be reduced by follow up for which now staff seldom have time. The focus has shifted to Retail advances from Corporate advances which is a welcome step. But this requires additional manpower and more time for handling potential borrowers. Hence Banks should reduce the transaction hours to 10 am to 2 pm. This will help the banks to increase their business and reduce Non Performing Assets.

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    Source:-Click to View/Download Circular

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