All India Demand Day on 17th Nov 2022 for Scrap NPS, Extend Defined Benefit Pension Scheme
23rd October 2022
To all Units, Affiliates, Office Bearers, CC & GC Members
All India Demand Day on 17th November 2022
The Central Committee meeting of BEFI held on 14-15th Oct. 2022 at Kolkata decided to observe All India Demand Day on 17th Nov. 2022 on following demands:
- Scrap NPS
- Extend Defined Benefit Pension Scheme to all
- Pension Updation
- Improvement of Pension Scheme.
Subsequent to introduction of NPS for central government employees since 2004 followed by several state governments, the IBA insisted to introduce NPS for bank employees during 9th bipartite settlement. Ultimately, NPS was introduced for newly recruited bank employees with effect from 1st April 2010.
Since introduction, the Confederation of central government employees and All India state government employees Federation are incessantly opposing NPS, organising movements including strikes demanding its withdrawal. The joint platform of Central Trade Unions and Independent Federations also made this an issue in their movement including general strikes for more than a decade.
Immediately after agreeing in 9th bipartite settlement to introduce NPS in the banking sector, the Unions/Associations while submitting common charter of demands for 10th bipartite settlement demanded for discontinuation of the scheme for obvious reasons. The demand was reiterated in charter of demands for 11th bipartite settlement also.
During discussion for 10th and 11th settlements, the IBA took an indifferent attitude to negotiate the issue with right perspective. In the meantime, as many as 3 state governments, namely Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab announced for discontinuation of NPS for their employees and restoration of old pension scheme with retrospective effect.
Hence, observance of Demand Day for discontinuation of NPS and extension of defined benefit pension scheme for all bank employees recruited since 1st April 2010.
Ever since enactment of Bank Employees Pension Regulation (BEPR) 1995, basic pension of the bank employees/officers has not been updated during last almost three decades.
In the meantime, as results of decade long struggle and scientific actuarial calculation at the initiative of BEFI, another option for pension was agreed in 9th bipartite settlement with cost sharing by the beneficiaries, both working and retired. After another decade of struggle, the bankers submitted to the demand for enhancement of family pension which was agreed in principle by IBA during the negotiation for 11th bipartite settlement and subsequently implemented.
Since quite long time, all the Unions/Associations including those of the retirees are demanding for pension updation. Several industry level strikes have also been organised demanding, among others, updation of pension. Good number of retirees, disillusioned with inhuman attitude of IBA in this regard, approached the courts of law. One of the retirees’ forums obtained bank wise statistical data from almost all the public sector banks through Right to Information Act, 2005 to facilitate actuarial calculation but to no avail so far.
The issue of pension updation was discussed during the negotiation of 11th bipartite settlement. At some point of time, IBA agreed to share data for actuarial calculation to ascertain financial load. Later, true to its own character, it backtracked and refused to modify the BEPR 1995 which is essential for pension updation. On the contrary, IBA offered for ad hoc increase, that too in phases.
Several deputations to IBA as well as Ministry of Finance including the Union Finance Minister have been undertaken by different organisations and individuals without any positive result as yet. The demand has become more relevant after pension revision has been effected for the employees/officers of RBI in 2019. Any ad hoc improvement, as per proposals of IBA, will be grossly injudicious. Several improvements in the pension scheme are in the demands for several years like reducing the period for restoration of commutation and eligibility for full pension; increase of basic pensions for super senior citizens like central government etc. The IBA, in the 11th bipartite settlement rejected the demands as it is disinclined to modify the BEPR 1995.
Hence observance of Demand Day for scraping of NPS, OPS for all, Pension updation and Improvement of pension scheme suitably modifying the BEPR 1995.
We call upon our Units and Affiliates to take necessary initiatives so that All India Demand Day is observed in all the Branches/offices by our members by displaying posters/banners and wearing badges on 17th Nov. 2022. The State Federations are also advised to print posters and badges, preferably in vernacular, in good numbers for distribution as per specimen attached.
With greetings, Yours comradely,
(Debasish Basu Chaudhury)