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As We know service conditions of Bank Employees in India are governed by Shastri Award as modified from time to time by subsequent Bipartite Settlements. Here is an historical perview of how bank employees attained their present status :

AWARDS

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In Bombay, Bengal and United Provinces the unrest among the bank employees became more and the state governments referred the disputes for adjudication with the intention of giving some relief to the bank employees. These were known as Awards.



Devatia Award

Justice H. U. Devatia was appointed as an adjudicator in 1946 to resolve the dispute between Bank of India Ltd. and its employees. Also he was appointed in the dispute between 30 banking company operations in Bombay and his award was published in the Bombay government gazette dated 9th April 1947. This is popularly known as Devatia Award.



Singh Award

In the United Province (the present Uttar Pradesh) there were disputes between 40 banking companies and their workmen which was referred to Mr. B. B. Singh for adjudication. He gave this award on 11.03.1947 which was known as B. B. Singh Award.



Gupta Award

Sri. R. Gupta was appointed as adjudicator by the state government of Bengal to settle the dispute between the Imperial Bank of India and its workmen. The award was published in Calcutta gazette dated 4.8.1947 which was known as Gupta Award. Apart from Imperial Bank, several other banks of Bengal also adopted the Gupta Award voluntarily.



Chakravarty Award

Sri. S. C. Chakravarty was the adjudicator in the dispute between the Imperial Bank of India, Bengal Circle and its employees in respect of certain issues which was not covered by the Gupta Award and it was published in the Calcutta government gazette dated 22.12.1948.



S. K. Sen Award

Sri. S. K. Sen was appointed by the Bengal government to adjudicate upon the dispute between Central Bank of India Ltd. and its employees in Calcutta. This award was published on 22.12.1947.



K. C. Sen Award

In 13.06.1949 the Central Government Ministry of Labour constituted an Industrial Tribunal consisting of 3 retired judges of High Court to adjudicate upon the dispute between several banking companies and their workmen. The Tribunal was presided over by K. C. Sen, President of the Industrial Court, Bombay and a retired judge of the Bombay High Court. For the first time an All India Industrial Tribunal was constituted and the various disputes related to the banking industry were referred to it. Their award was published in the gazette of India on 12th August 1950 and is referred as the Sen Award. Some of the leading banks were so dissatisfied with this award that they went to the Supreme Court. On 9th April 1951, the Supreme Court, by a majority judgement, declared the Sen Award as void altogether for the reason that the constitution of the tribunal offended against the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Court also didn’t go into the merits of the award and held that the award was void in total for want of jurisdiction and in consequence of this, the disputes in the banking industry remained unresolved.



Sastri Award

On 6th January 1952 the Sastri Tribunal was constituted and the Central Government referred to it for adjudication the disputes between various banks and their workmen and this popularly known as Sastri Award. Sri Panchapa Gesava Sastri was the Chairman and Sri M. L. Tannan and Sri V. L. D’souza were the members. It is the most comprehensive award with dealt with almost all the service conditions of bank employees. The Sastri Tribunal gave its award in March 1953. But the Unions were not satisfied with its recommendations and went for an appeal before Labour Appellate Tribunal. The tribunal gave its decision on 28th March, 1954 to the satisfaction of the bank employees. But this time the bank management were not happy with the decisions and they went for appeal to the government. The government, after obtaining the views of the Reserve Bank, modified some of the decisions of the Labour Appellate Tribunal. This interference of the government came for wide criticisms which resulted in the resignation of the then Labour Minster Mr. V. V. Giri.



Bank Award Commission

The Government of India appointed a bank award commission on 17th September, 1954 with Sri. Raja Dhyaksha as Chairman. But Sri. Raja Dhyaksha died soon after his appointment and his place was taken over by Sri. P. S. Gajendragatkar, judge in the Bombay High Court and who later became Chief Justice of India. He submitted his report on 27.05.1954 and based on that, the Government of India passed an act called Industrial Disputes (Banking Companies) Decisions Act, 1955 and it was provided that the Sastri Award as modified by the decision of the Labour Appellate Tribunal and further modified by the recommendation of the bank award commission would remain in force till 31.03.1959.



Desai Award

Immediately after the cessation of the Sastri Award All India Bank Employees Association and All India Bank Employees Federation served notice and submitted the charter of demands. Government of India constituted a national tribunal under the chairmanship of Sri. Justice Kanthilal Desai, Chief Justice of the High Court of Gujarat on 21.03.1960. This award was given on 7.6.1962 and was in operation till 1964. The Government of India extended the period of Desai Award till 30.06.1965 though the unions opposed the action of the government.


BI-PARTITE SETTLEMENTS

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First Bi-Partite Settlement Dated 19.10.1966

The collective bargaining in the industries took deep routes in the country and this resulted in the bilateral relationship between management and the union as an alternative to compulsory adjudication by the tribunals. The Government of India encouraged employers represented by Indian Banks’ Association and employees represented by All India Bank Employees Association and the All India Bank Employees Federation to have direct talks and arrive at a settlement. The first settlement was signed on 19th October 1966 which was hailed as a historical landmark for the development of bilateral relationship in banking industry and this was in force for a period of 3 years till 31.12.1968.



Second Bi-Partite Settlement Dated 12.10.1970

The Second Bi-Partite Settlement was signed on 12.10.1979 between AIBEA represent majority of the bank employees and the IBA representing the employers. This was in operation for 3 years till 31.12.1973.



Third Bi-Partite Settlement Dated 1.9.1978

Though the Second Bi-Partite Settlement came to an end on 31.12.1973 an emergency was proclaimed in India in 1974 and hence negotiations would not take place during the time of emergency. In 1977 the emergency was lifted and the Third Bi-Partite talks were resumed. This time the State Bank of India also joined the IBA and their majority of the workmen belonging to another union called National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE) also participated in the discussion. The IBA had also talks with another two unions namely National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) and Indian National Bank Employees Congress (INBEC). The Third Bi-Partite Settlement was signed on 1.7.1978 and was in operation till 31.08.1982. Certain specific issues regarding computerisation could not be settled in the Third Bi-Partite Settlement and it was decided to refer certain specific issues to the Board of Arbitrators. Again a question was araised as to the authority of the Arbitration Board and it was dissolved on 11.05.1981. IBA insisted that the unresolved issues would be referred for adjudication along with the charter of demands of the Fourth Bi-Partite Settlement. The unions were against adjudication as it would lead to unnecessary and unending legal complications. Finally a settlement was reached on 8.9.1983 mainly on the use of computers in the banking sector.



Fourth Bi-Partite Settlement Dated 17.09.1984

Immediately after the settlement on 8.9.1983 discussions were held between IBA, AIBEA and NCBE. This time IBA also presented a charter of demands on the unions mainly on productivity and better customer service and a settlement was reached on 17.09.1984 and the operation of the settlement was given retrospective effect from 1.7.1983. This settlement was in force for a period of 4 years till 30.06.1987.


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