State Bank of India is a top premiere banking institution in India and also abroad. It’s also a premiere organisation in the country with the reputation of initiating and empowering the bilateral system of negotiations on industrial matters jointly with the union(s) through bi-partite talks, a mechanism exclusively formed for the purpose. Right after the initial 1960s, this bilateral system has been working on a well settled measure in most healthy an atmosphere despite some unrests in between. State Bank has all along been recognized as a pace setter in this direction. With the exception of certain minority unions here and there, the top rank partners in the negotiational channels have been All India State Bank of India Staff Federation, and All India State Bank of India Officers Federation. The modus operandi applied by the officers federation some time back to direct their agitational programme against the Bank’s top management was virtually a flop. It rather gave a sound fillip to the management who felt more emboldened to strike back with vengeance targeting the officers federation leadership followed by a terror tactics let loose against their membership too with their transfers to the places chosenly most inconvenient to them, besides volley of charge sheets and show cause notices to a large number of their leaders. Such a spree of actions didn’t stop at it. The advisors to the Chairman, Pratip Chaudhary, might have counselled him to behave somewhat socialistically covering uniformly the untouched areas like Award staff under the banner of All India State Bank of India Staff Federation with the result that they too became the target with their transfers to inconvenient places to start with. Such an eventuality was already pointed out in one of the posts in this blog only after the officers federation failed in their movement as a consequence of their lack lustre approach to their agitational programme. If a particular union flops in their movement, it generates most suitable a climate for any management to behave tough, and this is what actually happened engulfing the Award staff federation along with the officers federation. Both are now uniformly, more or less, in the hit list of the Bank’s top management.
Bank’s Chairman, Pratip Chaudhary, was at one stage admired for his pro workforce image and he had a better rapport with them, as a result of which there was a total peace on the industrial relations front. What prompted, or provoked, the Chairman to switch over to a bitter mode of relationship with the workforce is not ascertainable, but what is there in store both from the personnel angle and also that of customers of the Bank, is certainly a serious matter of concern. Some remedy can be perceived only if both the federations and the top management of the Bank agree to address the crisis jointly and amicably.