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Kerala: Canara Bank Staff on 24-Hour Dharna for Adequate Recruitment and Fair Wages

Neelambaran A |
The dharna was held urging the management to recruit adequate staff in clerical and sub-staff categories and abolish outsourcing of permanent works.
N N Krishna Das, former member of parliament, inaugurated the 24-hour dharna of the CBSU in Palakkad on December 15. (Courtesy: Sanil Babu)

N N Krishna Das, former member of parliament, inaugurated the 24-hour dharna of the CBSU in Palakkad on December 15. (Courtesy: Sanil Babu)

The employees of the Canara Bank in Kerala sat on a 24-hour dharna on December 15 evening in Palakkad district against the policies pursued by the bank on issues relating to adequate recruitment, denial of permanent jobs and prescribed wages to the temporary workers. Canara Bank is a leading Public Sector Bank (PSB).

The Canara Bank Staff Union (CBSU), leading the struggle, has accused the central government of utilising the services of the bankers for the Vikshit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, while the bank branches and the customers are severely affected due to lack of recruitment. 

The union has accused the bank management of refusing transfers to staff under medical and compassionate grounds, including to disabled ex-servicemen and lactating mothers. Two of the three disabled ex-servicemen were provided favourable transfers only after protests by the CBSU, a member organisation of the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI).

The organisation is gearing up for nationwide protests against the lack of recruitment, outsourcing of work, and restoration of the old pension scheme in front of the regional and circle offices.


Canara Bank, one of the leading PSBs, has 775 branches across Kerala. With the recruitment for the Kerala circle reducing considerably, the branches are functioning with the least number of clerical staff, while those appointed by 2019 are awaiting favourable transfers. 

Speaking to NewsClick, Sanil Babu, the general secretary of the CBSU accused the management of hiding vacancies, leading to the disruption in operation of the branches across the state. “Most branches across the state are functioning with only one clerk. Though some recruitment is happening at the national level, the Kerala circle continues to suffer from staff shortage,” he said.

Due to lack of recruitment, the transfer of employees is also being delayed, including those seeking favourable postings on medical and compassionate grounds. 

“Those ex-servicemen who were disabled while in service are also affected by adverse bank policies. While most PSBs provide appointments in nearby areas, Canara Bank has allotted faraway branches to them. After a protest in the Regional Office in Thiruvananthapuram and barely 12 hours before we started our day-night dharna, two disabled ex-servicemen were issued transfer orders,” Sanil Baby said.

One more person under the same category, working in Kozhikode, is yet to receive a favourable transfer. The CBSU has accused the management of refusing transfers to lactating mothers and others on medical grounds. 

Sanil Babu accused the central government of utilising the services of bankers for the Vikshit Bharat Sankalp Yatra, even as the branches suffer from acute staff shortages. “The management is claiming to have zero vacancies in the circle,  even as a good number of bankers are deputed for works like the Yatra. The customers and the bankers are equally affected by such activities,” he said.


Most branches have operated with temporary staff in the peon and conservancy workers category ever since outsourcing in the PSBs was introduced. The employees and staff unions are urging the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government and banks to provide permanent jobs to the daily wage workers, but the situation of such workers is worsening with time with reduced wages and undocumented employment. 

“Most branches are not keeping records of daily wage workers. They are provided wages in cash, without maintaining any records to deny permanent jobs as per the labour laws. The circle offices consider them unauthorised persons and pay much less than the prescribed wages," Sanil Babu claimed. 

As per the recent circular, banks should pay Rs 768 as daily wages to the workers, with the wage being revised once every three months as per the change in the Dearness Allowance (DA). 

“The total monthly wage is divided by 30, and the workers are paid wage for the number of days they work. They are at a loss since no wage is provided for holidays. The banks must ensure the calculation of wages by including holidays. The workers will lose more once five-day banking is implemented,” Sanil Babu added. 

The protesting staff of Canara Bank have also accused the management of delaying the disbursal of allowances and ensuring timely payment of insurance premiums by the Third Party Administrator (TPA) to the companies, leading to hardships in hospitalisation. 

“We are planning for further struggles in the coming months to urge the bank management and the Union government to address the long-pending demands of the bankers concerning adequate recruitment and pensions,” Sanil Babu added.

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