Thursday, December 1, 2022

AIBEA files PIL for appointment of RLCs

Jamshedpur: Sujit Ghosh, an experienced and capable leader of All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and United Forum of Banks’ Union (UFBU) observed during a casual chat, “The central government has been rash while formulating banking polices. One among such ambiguity, is the move to merge banks. Mergers are taking place irrespective of the turmoil among bank employees and customers.

The queues at many branches are seeing despondent customers waiting for their turns to the counters while bank staffs are left flustered to adjust account details of customers of the merged banks. The central government should have foreseen the hiccups before formulating merger (of banks) policies before launching the diabolic scheme that has been accompanied with discontent among customers and bankers.”

According to AIBEA general secretary CH Venkatachalam, the present BJP led NDA government at the centre has been taking various measures to dilute and weaken the labor laws of our country. Because of their pro-corporate approach, managements and employers are resorting to rampant violation of labor laws.

Venkatachalam went on to add, “Lakh of industrial disputes are pending in various Industrial Tribunals and Regional Labor Commissioners. There are numbers of cases of loss of employment at the hands of managements and the affected workers and employees are approaching the Industrial Tribunals for redressal of their disputes.”

Adding vent to his ire he informed that for settlement of disputes regarding nonpayment or short payment of entitled gratuity, the Regional Labor Commissioners are the final Appellate Authority. In the same vein, the AIBEA general secretary said, “Similarly claims of nonpayment of minimum wages to contract employees are also dealt by the Regional Labor Commissioners as they are the competent authority.”

RB Sahay, also a veteran AIBEA leader, dittoing CH Venkatachalam’s contentions, averred, “Unfortunately, many posts of Regional Labor Commissioners and presiding offices of Industrial Tribunals remain vacant with the result that lakh of cases of the affected workers and employees remain unattended.”

According to bank union leaders of all hierarchical rungs rue the state of affairs in most states, especially in Tamilnadu. According to a report, in that southern state, the post of Presiding Officer of Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labor Court (CGIT) has been vacant since September, 2017. Similarly, the post of RLC in Chennai and Madurai has been vacant for months.

Other states more or less mirror more or less the same status. Is it a lacuna or is the status a willful neglect? And then, for what purpose?

In light of the above circumstances, the AIBEA has filed a Public Interest Litigation before the Madras High Court, seeking direction to the Government of India to appoint and fill up the vacancies in these important posts.

Sahay informed that the petition had come up for hearing before the bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramania Prasad on October 31 and the Court had admitted the petition and notice had been served on Additional Solicitor General, Government of India to reply within three weeks.

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