( An Open appeal to Prime Minster of
Subject: Illegal recovery from PF optees in PSU Banks
Misuse of usual delay in judicial process
I would like to draw your kind intervention in the matter of second offer of pension being given to bank employees who did not accept pension offer in 1993/95 when pension scheme was first introduced in banks in lieu of contributory provident fund.
After prolonged movement by bank employees for almost 15 years and after 30 months agitational programme, Indian banks Association (IBA) signed an agreement with United Forum of Bank Employees (UFBU) on 27th of April. Till 25th of April 2010 there was never a talk among leaders during last 15 years that there will be recovery from PF optees from their arrear if they are given second option for pension. But in the eleventh hour, union leaders who are mostly retired employees were ill motivated by IBA and it is they played a mischievous role to introduce a discriminatory clause in the agreement which enables banks to recover 2.8 times of revised salary of November 2007 from such employees who opts for pension.
Obviously those who opted for pension in 1993/95 got free option for pension whereas those who will opt for the same benefit after 15 years prolonged movement will have to purchase the same by paying Rs.50000 to more than one lac rupees. This discrimination is clearly in violation of spirit of Equality of Law granted under Indian Constitution.
Since the agreement was signed by a few say 20 union leaders on behalf of eight lac bank employees IBA got an upper hand in executing even legally invalid clause. In such position bank employees all over the country started condemning the said bipartite settlement, formed fresh unions and finally filed writs in various high courts.
On 24th June 2010 Madras High Court granted interim stay on recovery from PF optees.
But IBA and bank management in nexus with mischievous union leaders filed another writ in the same court for vacation on stay on the false but emotional plea that retired employees are on the verge of death and banks are unable to start pension payment to them because they have no fund and they not got refund from retired employees.
Court due to its busy schedule heard the petition on 10th of August 2010, considered the pain of retired employees and vacated the stay.
IBA and union leaders in particular and people of India understand it very well that once the court case is filed in any Indian court, it will take a decade or two decade in getting final judgment on any issue. In such situation banks can execute the disputed agreement.
It is open secret now that banks will not only spend lavishly on advocate to prolong the hearing , torture the fighting employees and but also try its best to weaken the fighting intensity of employees who have moved courts in the large interest of three lac retired and three lac serving employees.
Obviously bank employees for none of their fault will have to pay Rs.50000/ to more than one lac to purchase pension offer which is absolutely illegal and not reasonable from any angle of consideration. Such discriminatory recovery never occurred in any department in our country. This historic blunder is going to be committed by bank management and bank employees will become victim of faulty judicial process as everyone knows that it takes High courts and Supreme Court two to three decades in deciding any case.
I therefore make an earnest appeal to you to advise finance ministry, banking division, law ministry and IBA to bring about necessary change in the agreement or else government of
Alternately you can ensure expeditious judicial process by appointing special bench in Supreme Court combining writs filed at various High courts to decide the issues of writ in fixed time frame of 30 days. .
It is the most disheartening and sad story of Indian judicial system that courts are used in general and in practice not to get justice but to perpetuate reign of injustice. Courts seldom award punishment to guilty person in time but spend so much time in the process of judgment that the victim is either extinguished or the very purpose of filing a case is defeated or loses physical, mental and financial energy to such a pitiable extent that the case filed for justice is ultimately left unattended and become useless and endless. Even the veteran criminals get relief once the police files case in any court. It is very easy to prolong the judicial process as per whims and fancies of the criminal and at least till all witnesses or all plaintiffs are finished or become ineffective.
For your ready reference and to enlighten you more on the subject I submit hereunder some important points related to pension rules and subsequent agreement prevalent in banks.
1. In the Pension Regulations 1993/1995 there is no provision for collecting money from employees to make up the short-fall in pension fund. If at all any short fall is faced it should be made good by the banks themselves. Then on what basis banks are now asking employees to contribute for short fall?
2. In 7th, 8th, 9th bi-partite settlements 8.25%, 9.25%, 13% of additional cost of pension was carved out of wage load and given to banks to make-up the shortfall in pension fund. This amount belongs to both Pension Optees and PF optees, but used for paying pension to Pension Optees only. Therefore is there any logic in asking funds now from PF optees only?
3. In the Pension Regulation 1993/1995 there was a clause stating that pension will not be paid to those employees who participates in any strike. In 1999, this clause has been removed, but no fresh option is given to PF optees to join pension scheme then. Why?
4. In Railways and RBI fresh options were given to employees to join Pension Scheme several times without asking single paisa. Then why in Banks, Employees are asked to contribute towards Pension Fund?
5. If all the employees would have opted for Pension in 1996/1995 itself, how banks would have managed Pension Fund?
6. In State Bank of
7. When SBI associate banks are merged with SBI, Govt. is ready to extend Pension Benefit to those Employees of associate banks without asking anything from employees. Where from money comes to meet this additional expenditure?
8. Banks are ready to incur expenditure to the extent of 14% (10% of B.P. +D.A) towards PF for new recruits from 01.04.2010, but not ready to pay more than 10% for PF optees. Why?
9. Pension Regulation 1993/1995 provides for paying pension only on superannuation, i.e. after 60years of age only, but at the time of VRS2000 it is modified /amended to give pension to even employee of 40years. Because of this act of Banks only, Pension fund dried up. Is it not true?
10. Hence, we PF optees feel principle of natural Justice is denied to us and it is clear cut violation of fundamental Law of Equality before justice granted by Constitution of India to each citizen of
I am fully confident you will take all possible steps to give justice to six lac bank employees who have been badly affected by said agreement. It is worthwhile to mention here that bank management has already recovered Rs.1800 crores from serving employees who will be given second offer for pension as per said Agreement. Not only this , even trade unions participating in the said agreement has realized more than two hundred crores from bank employees as Levy or their remuneration or fee for negotiating with IBA and for signing on the said agreement.