A catchline of Central Bank of India (CBI) says, "We touch lives". But in the recent months the bank management seems to have rubbed the lives of its employees and trade unions the wrong way.
On Wednesday, the general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, Gurudas Das Gupta met and submitted a letter listing a series of allegations against the management to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Das Gupta said that the bank management has all but bid a goodbye to bilateralism and is making material changes in existing policies and settlements without consulting the unions. In fact, trade unions have been asked to vacate the premises and have also decreed against staff meetings in bank or branch premises.
"Under the redeployment of staff, all Zonal managers were forced to declare surplus staff in their respective zones/regions despite the fact that there is acute shortage of staff. The main intention is to target the union leaders," Das Gupta wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.
In another instance of alleged high-handedness, Das Gupta claimed that the widow of an Army officer was removed after being given a job on compassionate grounds. "Mrs Kavita Savarkar …was inhumanly and illegally dismissed by the management within 90 days from the date of appointment," Das Gupta said. The CPI leader also alleged that union leaders are routinely, and in a vindictive manner, being transferred.
Trade unions called a strike on January 22. "Now after the strike action, out of retaliation, the management has served showcause memos and chargesheets to 7000 employees and officers dictating a punishment of reduction of two increments permanently," Das Gupta told the Prime Minister. The bank has some 40000 employees.
The bank management, however, played down the allegations. "It is an old bank. It needs lot of modifications in its age-old policies. The chairperson and managing director, Mrs HA Daruwala is trying her best to bring in the changes," the bank's general manager (human resource development), A Ghosh told HT from the bank headquarters in Mumbai. He added that another meeting was held with a unified forum of trade unions on Wednesday.
Das Gupta next plans to meet Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram to inform him about the developments in the bank. "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured me that he would look into the problem. He will also talk to Chidambaram," Das Gupta said.