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Friday, October 02, 2015


In his post on the stage at which updation of Pension for RBI retirees stands, SN Sir (1992) has given expression to the rightful anguish of many of our pensioners . But for his post many of us would have missed Shri Tarapore's observations while analysing the RBI report for 2014-15. Shri Tarapore's condemning the tyranny of bureaucracy ( Finance Min.-GOI) is entirely correct.

Shri SN posed a question. With dedicated leadership and good organisation that proved its mettle in many battles, why was there no outburst on GOI"s offer of limited updation from 1-11-2012 ( conditions apply.) He wrote " Why is the RBI and Why are the RBI employees and pensioners setting a very bad precedent?" Obviously this is about the response of employees and pensioners towards the limited updation that is under offer. 

This question stares at every one of us and our organisations. Why very militant organisations with crores of funds in their chest and loyal members, swallowed line, hook and sinker the wage deal of 15 per cent with cap of 2 per cent on revised scales fixed at the level of one year earlier to the effective date? 

Not one union but 9 unions acting together! Not only that why did these militants sign a note of record characterising pension as a welfare measure? Now why are unions in LIC struggling to break the ice on wage negotiations and are not openly saying what was offered and what they are rejecting? What is now happening in LIC or GIC is really mind blowing . I personally cannot call it collective bargaining. Management has no autonomy to offer and unions do not
say what exactly is the final offer. Really baffling for those who knew how the charters were negotiated right from 1963. At best there are halting, hesitating, periodical agitations. Here also comes the question posed by SN Sir of 1992 batch. WHY/ WHY? All of us have to ponder.

To my limited understanding this has to do something with the greatly reduced strength of the left parties in Parliament and the speed at which the juggernaut of neo-liberal economics is moving. In Insurance, a sector where there is no need for FDI at all, we see the limit raised to 49 per cent and the strange spectacle of the Chairman of Public Sector LIC welcoming the raise in limit of FDI ! The average employee ( Total number ..reduced and composition..changed) looks more worried about bio-metric system of attendance and performance rating, as also the prospect of mobility. The change in life styles, the modern needs ( Is anybody taking cycle advances now?) ...everything is impacting the capacity to fight. The attacks on working class and working class ideology day-in and day-out in the media and eulogising the virtues of private sector... everything is taking its toll. The Central TUs launch bigger and bigger offensives. But what is the space given to these struggles in the news papers and media? Now the big issues are Ban on Beef, Reservations for forward castes, Valentine's Day celebrations etc etc. How much awareness is there about change in labour laws? 

This change in the environment around us would partly ( if not fully) answer the question of SN Sir (1992.) If something happens in RBI. it will percolate to Banking Sector and in turn to Insurance Sector also. A positive outcome of our case in Supreme Court can be a powerful weapon in our fight for updation. That too in the backgroud of the eloquent silence of Unions in the industry. As optimists let us hope for the best. 

B. Ganga Raju Hyderabad