Cost cutting solutions: IDBI Bank unions resist move to engage external agency

The bank already has a staff suggestion scheme in place.

Thiruvananthapuram, May 27:  

Employee unions in IDBI Bank have urged the management to withdraw its decision to engage an external agency for suggesting cost-cutting solutions.

The United Forum of IDBI Officers and Employees have shot off a letter in this regard to the MD & CEO of the bank.

‘Turnaround plan’

Copies of the letter, signed by Ratnakar Wankhade and Vithal Koteswara Rao, union leaders, have been forwarded to the Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and the parent All-India Bank Employees’ and Officers’ Associations.

The United Forum has ‘noted with extreme consternation’ ads issued by the IDBI Bank inviting tenders from consultancies in this connection.

The member associations of both officers and employees of the bank are parties to agreement signed with the bank on March 28 on ‘turnaround plan’ based on Centre’s guidelines.

Given this, involving an external agency bypassing the officers and employees who are key stakeholders is ‘strange and superfluous,’ the letter said.

It reminded that experiments on restructuring bank operations on the basis of recommendations from Booz Allen and Hamilton and Mckinsey, and incurring hefty expenditure in the form of professional fees in the process, have failed to yield desired results.

Stressed loans

The fundamental malady confronting the bank is the burgeoning stressed loans which stand at Rs 45,000 crore as at the end of March 31, 2017. “The need of the hour is to put in place stringent measures to recover these stressed assets and fix accountability on officials in the higher echelons.”

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As the bank has already a staff suggestion scheme in place, it would be desirable and pragmatic to invite suggestions from officers and employees for turnaround and cutting costs.

A word of appreciation/certificate for those who come out with acceptable and implementable suggestions would give them a sense of satisfaction for contributing towards the upliftment of the bank.

Wage revision

The letter also referred to the delay in finalising revision of wages in the bank on the pretext of ‘the prevailing troubled times.’

But this has not prevented the bank from being loosening its purse strings to pay crores to pay off an outside agency, efficacy of whose prescriptions is unsure going by past experience.

The letter urged the management to accede to the demand of the United Forum for wage revision by declaring a 15 per cent hike on the lines of the industry-level 10th Bipartite Settlement as also resolve other issues forming part of the strike notice dated March 27.

(This article was published on May 27, 2017)

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