Usman Ghani speaks on labour management-relations.
A. Labour Management relations in general are not good. Wherever the approach of Management is positive and workers are organised the situation is considerably healthy. Otherwise the overall attitude of management is not upto the mark. The relations in banking industry are linked with Wage Board Awards and prevailing political conditions. When political course has a democratic tilt the management adjusts accordingly and behaves in a reasonable manner, otherwise the environments remain different. Since Benazir's ouster Labour Management relations have deteriorated. Five office bearers of BCCI trade union were sent behind the bars and implicated in false allegations. In Metropolitan Steel Corporation workers are struggling for lawful bonus. Many trade union organisations are protesting against the high-handedness of the management. Industrialists are happy over the change. PPP has done a lot for the workers. Sacked employees were reinstated and laws were formulated against bonded labour. Trade unions were given opportunities to operate freely.
Q. What measures do you suggest for stable labour-management relations?
A. Workers representations should be included in Board of Directors as to keep checks on administrative affairs. Administration avails undue privileges and commits irregulatiries to facilitate favourites.
Q. Are you satisfied with the salary structure of bank employees?
A. The salaries of bank employees are neither according to the profits nor to the efficiency discharged by the bank workers. Bank employees all over the world get wages in line with the profitability earned. There should be uniformity in rights and privileges of various bank employees. So far the banks earning more profits, were giving additional bonus to their employees as had been the case with HBL earlier. But here I would add one thing that employees of all banks work devotedly. But bad managerial policy affects bank profits. So bank employees should not be dealt discriminately because of managerial ineptness. They should be treated at par.
Q. Why do you demand collective bargaining right?
A. In almost all organisation pay structures is determined through a deal finalised between the management and the CBA union. Surprisingly the fate of bank employees is decided by a Wage Board Award having no representation of workers. In the presence of Wage Board Award the job of CBA union is restricted to the implementation of the Award whether bad or good. The wage board should be tripartite. Workers should have proper representation. In that case the Award would exhibit the aspirations of the workers and would be more rationale and acceptable.
Q. Why did you oppose privatisation of Banks with special reference to MCB during Benazir era when PPP government decided to disinvest shares?
A. Probably due to IMF pressure PPP regime decided to disinvest shares of MCB. However, the decision later on was reverted. We oppose denationalisation on practical and logical grounds. Demerits of denationalisation are fully known to us. After nationalisation the profits increased and apart from job security new job opportunities were created to solve unemployment problem. Before nationalisation the industrialists and their blue-eyed favourites were the main beneficiaries. The profit now goes to national exchequer. The beneficiaries include a cross section of people. The bank branches after nationalisation were opened even in remote areas of the country without keeping in view the profitability factor just to facilitate the commoners.
Q. IJI manifesto upholds denationalisation. How will you comment?
A. Over one lakh bank employees and their 8 lakh family members oppose denationalisation. Any step contrary to the employees' interest would lead to confrontation. We would provide maximum possible resistance. This is a step to please industrialists. Denationalisation is not at all in the interest of employees in particular and Pakistan in general. However, IJI manifesto also pledges minimum wage of worker at Rs. 3000 p.m. We strongly demand its implementation. Deviation from manifesto commitment would expose IJI government.
Q. What is the future of democracy in Pakistan?
A. Unless there is a stable government based on principled politics, democracy would not flourish. The ruling alliance has components with altogether opposing views. To keep them intact for long seems difficult. As such the election was issueless. It was only aimed at to oust PPP. Now they are at war with each other. The future of democracy depends entirely on the democratic approach of the rulers and elimination of sectarian, linguistic and parochial politics. Eighth amendment should go and civil and military bureaucracy should be confined to its constitutional obligations. Peoples supremacy should be accepted in political sphere of life.
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|Title Annotation:||Secretary General of the Muslim Commercial Bank Employees Federation of Pakistan|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1990|
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