live and let live

live and let live

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13.07.2020

Respected Sir,

Sub: An Earnest Appeal from Staff Members seeking Protectionwhile Working in Branches/offices across the country and more particularly in Mumbai Metropolitan Zone from getting infected to COVID-19 disease.

Everyone knows the spread of COVID-19across the country. More particularly Mumbai and Mumbai Suburban area has taken the worst toll in the terms of people getting infected in large numbers on daily basis and many patients have succumbed to the Pandemic. This is the situation across the country and in all our zones.  The Government Authorities have given the first priority to contain the spread and to reduce the casualties for which Lockdown has been extended up to 31st July 2020 and many restrictions are in place to check human movement and to ensure social distancing.

Since the Banking is an essential service, the Bank Employees across the country are relentlessly working to render Customer Service in Branches in this fearful atmosphere without proper conveyance facilities and in absence of necessary Safeguards and Measures in the Branches.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Health Ministry, IBA and State Government of Maharashtra& Other State Governments have issued several guidelines for ensuring social distancing, sanitization and to avoid the spread of Pandemic. MHA has come out with SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) during the Pandemic. It appears our Management is not serious about the welfare and protection of staff as these SOP shave just remained on paper and very little concern is shown by the Management to ensure that the guidelines are implemented strictly at the ground level.

Staffs working at branches have been totally deprived of the SOPs provided in the Business Continuity Plan, alternate day Working with 50% staff remaining present, WFH (Work from Home), etc. The Alternate Day Working with 50% attendance on rotation in Mumbai Branches could not be implemented in MMZO Branches strictly due to acute shortage of Staff in Branches.

Many banks have altered their branch sitting arrangements by demarking with proper see through curtains so that bank staff would not get infected while dealing with customers. This system you would have also observed even in Private Vehicles, Autos, Taxis where curtains are installed between drivers and passengers. We have seen this type of arrangements even in our Executives’ Cars.Such is the fear amongst all containment and worst affected areas.  However, we do not find such arrangements made in our branches and similar concern exhibited towards the branch staff. Many branches lack the protective equipments and infrastructure for the Branch Staffs. The SOP provides working in Branches with only essential Services.

What is hurting us that without providing appropriate infrastructure, branch staffs irrespective of cadre are expected to fight the pandemic and achieve all   additional Targets of non-essential services(like insurance, digital banking, Covid loans etc) during these pathetic conditions. With the prevailing conditions across the country our motto should be that “The year 2020 is the year to save our lives” but unfortunately the management is exposing the staff to more infections. It is necessary to understand that the digital targets and other business targets provided to branches will force the frontline staff in branches in more close contacts with customers. In addition to the fear of pandemic, infection threats are also issued to BMs and staffs for non-achievements of such Non-essential targets.

The progressive managements of some banks e.g. Bank of Baroda, etc. have provided benefit of up to Rs. 50 lakh in case of death due to CORONA, however our Bank has just provided the benefit of Rs. 20 lakh. Even some banks have given one day’s of salary to employees who have worked for five days, but in our bank, we have been given 1 day’s privilege leave credit for having worked for six days.  Most of our bank employees already have accumulated leave and this additional 1 day’s leave for every six working days is of no use to them.  Again, some banks have reimbursed the conveyance amount for having commuted to office in their own vehicle. Many peer Banks have allowed monthly expenses of Rs. 1,000 for sanitization, and also reimbursement of Petrol Expenses for traveling by own Car.

We want to bring to your kind attention that the following measures as per SOP are the need of the hour to be strictly implemented without any further delay to save the lives of our front warriors:

·         50% attendance of staffs on alternate days on rotational basis should be strictly followed. 

·         Branch Operation Timings should also be restricted only for 4 hours i.e. 10.00 A M to 2.00 P M.

·         Passbook printing should be totally stopped.

·         During this period only basic essential services like cash withdrawals/deposits should be provided. 

·         Other ancillary business-like insurance promotion or any other business which requires site visits should be avoided. 

·         Staffs above 55, pregnant women, staffs with serious ailments like cancer, Heart patients etc. and staffs with physical challenges should be allowed to work from home.

·         No staffs should be called on duty on Sundays/Public Holidays to canvass any other business during lockdown period.

·         Branches functioning in the areas declared as Containment zones shall continue to be guided by the directions given by the appropriate authorities.

·         All ATMs/CDM/Cash recyclers shall be functioning during the lockdown period and cash carrying vehicles shall function by following all social distancing norms.

·         Staffs from the Containment zones should not be allowed to attend the duties under various guidelines issued under Pandemic Act by Central/State Government Authorities and Local Authorities, and special leave should be granted to the staffs of such area as per Govt./IBA/Central Office Guidelines.

·         Staff and Branches should be provided with Security equipments and the Branches should be sanitised frequently to avoid virus spread.

In MMZO so far, staffs from the following Branches are found CORONA Positive and staffs from some of the branches have also succumbed to this deadly virus: Gowalia Tank, Khodadad Circle, MMO, Mahim, Mulund, Chembur, Opera House, Babulnath Road, Vishnu Nagar-Dombivli, Naigaum, Thane, Bandra, Service Support Br (SSB), ATM Department. So far Six Staff Members have lost their lives due to CORONA in Mumbai. Such is the situation across the country and mostly in all metro cities.

In view of the grim conditions prevailing in the country and in all zones including Mumbai, we request your kind honour to go through our Memorandum, take a sympathetic view and take necessary decisions in the interest of the Staff and Customers of the Bank on urgent basis.

Thanking You,

Bank Employees