About 350 contractual officers who have been working in State Bank of India (SBI) for last three years are facing termination. These officers who come under the category of Officers Engaged in Contract were posted in 2016 for a tenure of five years with salary scale between Rs. 10-15 lakh per year.
However, the management has been trying to retrench the workers after they have completed two years. These workers are not entitled for any social security benefits and now, the management wants to recruit new candidates with lesser pay scale. The interview for this direct recruitment is scheduled at August 26-27 and 400 vacancies have been declared across the country.
“Such officers are being recruited for special posts like management executives. Similarly, there is another set of contractual officers, the agricultural officers. There are around 6,000 such officers across the country,” said Thomas Franco of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC).
In 2016, 350 people had been appointed and at the time of appointment there was a provision to extend the service of these officers after five years if needed. Majority of these people were part of other banks and various economic bodies.
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The management, however, initiated the steps to overthrow these workers by giving unrealistic targets that one cannot meet. The management even threatened the officers of retrenchment.
The condition of officers who are working as contract employees is worse than the new generation banks, said one of the officers who works in Kerala. In Kerala alone, there are 25-30 people in this category.
“As an organisation, we have always been opposing all kinds of contractual works,” Franco said, explaining their stand on this issue adding that “the appointments should be done through proper channels.”
On the other hand, 40 SBI branches in Kerala is scheduled to close down its services. In the first two phases, around 2,200 branches were shut. This shutdown drive took place after the taking over and merger of associate banks to SBI.
According to the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), several branches from flood-affected areas in Kerala are also included in this list of 50 banks.
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With relation to rationalisation of domestic branches post merger of its six associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank with itself with effect from April 1, 2017, as many as 1,800 branches have been rationalised during the whole year. Besides, 250 offices were also closed down in the name of huge cost savings.
Closing down of branches in areas where there is no other nationalised bank branches will affect the people living in these and also adversely affect the farmers. Such decisions are limiting the accessibility of people to banking facilities. BEFI, however, has urged to stop such actions that affect the people.