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NABARD union warns: employees 'justifiably' restive, agitated, to strike on Aug 30

Counterview Desk 

In a letter to the chairman, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Rana Mitra, general secretary, All India NABARD Employees Association (AINBEA), seeking wage revision in NABARD, has said there has been “inordinate delay” in signing and operationalization of the final settlement and other issues “like strengthening of development finance institution (DFI) status of NABARD.”
Rana in his letter warned, “In accordance with the provisions contained in sub-section (1) of Section 22 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, we hereby give you notice that AINBEA, the only recognized trade union representing almost the entire body collective of Group B (Clerical, Class III employees) and Group C (Peon, Class IV employees) of NABARD all over India in all its more than 22 Regional Offices plus Head Office at Mumbai, plus training establishments, proposes to go on strike on Tuesday, 30th August 2022.”

Text:

The final settlement on wage revision based on the Charter of Demands dated 31 October 2017 submitted by the All-India NABARD Employees Association (AINBEA) is yet to be signed till date, despite the inking of the Draft Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) and the record of negotiations on 18 February 2022 at Mumbai, between the representatives of the NABARD Management and the All India NABARD Employees’ Association (AINBEA) (Copies enclosed).
The proposal has also been reportedly approved on 16 March 2022 in the meeting of the Board of Directors of NABARD having representatives from both the Union Ministry of Finance and the RBI before being sent to the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Union Ministry of Finance supposedly for final clearance. Getting the clearance from any authority including from the Union Ministry of Finance is the sole responsibility of the management of NABARD.
It is most unfortunate that by postponing the signing and operationalization of the final settlement on wages and other issues like productivity for indefinite period in NABARD due to any reason whatsoever, including the reported non-clearance from the above authority, the employees of NABARD are made to suffer for no fault of their own.
This inexplicable delay of each day in signing the final settlement and its operationalization by the Management of NABARD is forcing the employees to lose in terms of real wages in the current environ of spiraling prices of all essentials. This makes the gain in terms of enhanced wages borne out of such MoS neutralized.
Incidentally, NABARD has had wonderful financial and other development achievements since its birth in 1982 including in the last financial year ending on 31 March, 2022, in which employees have contributed immensely through their efficiency and productivity.
Additionally, the current draft MoS on wages signed on 18 February 2022 is the eighth such wage settlement in a row, and in tune with all the past negotiated wage settlements in NABARD signed between AINBEA and the Management of NABARD since the first settlement on 22 February 1986 to seventh wage settlement dated 1 March 2017.
Incidentally, all the past seven wage settlements in NABARD had received due clearances and approval of the Union Ministry Finance. Moreover, the tenure of the current settlement period, to be operationalized from 1 November 2017 to 31 October 2022, is coming to an end shortly within few months.
This makes the employees of NABARD justifiably restive and agitated as similar wage settlements in other financial institutions like in Commercial Banks, RBI (NABARD’s bench mark institution since its first wage settlement signed on 22 February 1986 to the last settlement on 1 March 2017), LICI and others were over long ago. The trade unions in these institutions are in the process of submitting their next charter of demands to their respective managements operational from 1 November 2022.
In addition to this, the issues like strengthening of the Development Financial Institution (DFI) character of NABARD through flow of concessional funds from both Government of India and RBI available till 1993 before the advent of the so-called neo-liberal economic reforms in our country, through restoration of regular significant contribution by RBI to NABARD in the latter’s fund, namely National Rural Credit (Long Term Operations) and National Rural Credit(Stabilisation) Funds, are well documented by AINBEA through its various submissions to the management.
Non-clearance of wage revision by Union Finance Ministry is making  NABARD employees suffer for no fault of theirs
This may go a long way in strengthening the long term agri finance structure in the country, the weakening of it is now accepted by the policy makers too.
All these concerns forced us to embark on the path of agitation in NABARD from 9 June 2022 culminating into a full day Strike action on 30 August 2022 in the present phase. Incidentally, both the All India NABARD Employees Association (AINBEA) and All India NABARD Officers’ Association (AINBOA), who have formed a joint platform for the current united agitation programme in NABARD for wage settlement, has deferred their united programme of Dharna before the Parliament on 26 July 2022 at the written request of the Management of NABARD on 22 July 2022(copy enclosed).
The management of NABARD, while requesting for keeping such dharna programme in abeyance, has informed through this letter that the matter of wage revision for NABARD staff is under active consideration of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) of the Union Ministry of Finance.
The employees and officers of NABARD have positively responded to such request by keeping such dharna programme in abeyance for the time being. However, most unfortunately, till date there is no further tangible development on this issue, thereby adding to the frustration of the entire workforce of NABARD.
Please note that the environ of current avoidable industrial unrest in NABARD can only be improved by signing and operationalization of the Final Memorandum of Settlement on wages and other issues, the draft of which was signed way back on 18 February 2022 between the Management of NABARD and AINBEA at Mumbai.
This may go a long way in respecting the bipartite, negotiated wage agreement in NABARD with the sole recognized Trade Union of workmen employees of NABARD, in tune and line with the past seven negotiated wage settlements as detailed out above.

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