Citizens' Issues
Bank officers thrash Dhanlaxmi, Federal Bank for trying to undermine their unions

Are bank managements working to cut the roots of the trade unions? Dhanlaxmi Bank, Federal Bank are doing this, says the monthly journal of Corporation Bank Officers’ Organisation. Dhanlaxmi Bank has denied the charge

The outspoken official journal of the Corporation Bank Officers’ Organisation (CBOO), Officers’ Voice, has criticised the managements of Dhanlaxmi Bank and Federal Bank for disregarding their respective trade unions.

The journal, known for its strong opinionated stand, has hammered its own management in the past. (Read,Corporation Bank officers continue to openly criticise their head honchos.)

“In the recent past a number of affiliates of All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) have come under severe attack from arrogant management. They are becoming intolerant towards the right to form associations and espouse their cause through democratic means,” says the front-page editorial, headlined ‘One for All and All for One’.

It has criticised the management of Dhanlaxmi Bank for trying to destabilise the Dhanlaxmi Bank Officers’ Organisation (DBOO), while describing various instances. The editorial states that the new management, which took over Dhanlaxmi Bank last year, offered various benefits to its employees, like a 30% salary hike, offering ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) and it also recruited 3,000 officers on a cost-to-company (CTC) basis.

Officers’ Voice says that the new management which had earlier said CTC officers could be members of the association, back-tracked subsequently, threatening that their services would be terminated if they continued with their membership; and the officers resigned from the union. It also says that out of the 40 lakh ESOPs that were offered, 35 lakh were given to the bank’s managing director.

Officers’ Voice also states that the general secretary of DBOO was called for a discussion on this issue by the managing director, but he was humiliated and sent away. AIBOC intervened, and an understanding was reached.

However, the managing director declared that the agreement would come into effect on condition that DBOO advised the AIBOC leadership to disassociate from its affairs and the good conduct of DBOO.

Similarly, the editorial thrashes Federal Bank for dismissing KV Prasad, president of the Federal Bank Officers’ Association and Secretary AIBOC (Kerala unit) from service. He faced disciplinary proceedings for alleged lapses while sanctioning housing loans and purchasing cheques.

Describing Mr Prasad as an “honest and upright leader”, the editorial says, “If the lapses were so serious, warranting dismissal, how did the management keep him in service without suspending him?” Officers’ Voice states that “the dismissal of Mr Prasad is nothing but an arrogant and colourable exercise of power, intended to hit at the very root of trade union rights.”

Manish Kumar, president of human resources and corporate social responsibility at Dhanlaxmi Bank, said, “Since 2008, Dhanlaxmi Bank has undergone changes and expansion. Accordingly in 2009, when we recruited new officers, they preferred the CTC formula as opposed to the IBA compensation formula. Hence we gave them their preferred option of salary cut and higher ESOPS, based on their earlier ESOPS and CTC. We even gave the older employees the ESOPS option based on their seniority, grade and experience.”

“The ESOPs option is governed by the compensation board of the bank and is under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). ESOPs for the managing director require RBI approval and the ESOPs were allotted in compliance of the rules,” he added.

Mr Kumar said, “Under normal circumstances, CTC employees are not part of any trade union. This is the case with private sector banks. Dhanlaxmi has four unions, two each of clerical staff and officers. Apart from DBOO, the other three are perfectly happy with the bank.”

He described the comments in Officers’ Voice as factually incorrect. “We, at no point humiliated anyone from the union. The meeting was between the bank and DBOO and not with AIBOC, where DBOO was told to inform its parent body to withdraw the agitation and that an agreement could be reached after observation for two months. We never asked DBOO to disassociate itself from ABICO.”

Moneylife also talked to PV Mohanan, general secretary, DBOO, who said, “The bank earlier agreed that CTC employees could become union members, but later back-tracked. This is unfair. Even the ESOPs allocation is unfair, with the managing director getting the major share. I agree with the editorial and we still oppose what the bank management is saying.”

Former president of AIBOC, TR Bhat, told Moneylife, “The conflict between the management and trade union at Dhanlaxmi Bank has been going on for three years. The rationale behind allocating ESOPs is also highly unfair.”

Moneylife also e-mailed Federal Bank for a comment, but there has been no reply yet.


Deepak Fertilisers PAT up 19% for Q4 FY11

Deepak Fertilisers profit after tax rose 19% to Rs52.71 crore in March quarter as against Rs44.16 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year

Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation (DFPCL) has announced 32% jump in income from operations at Rs428.48 crore for the quarter ended March 2011  compared to Rs323.83 crore in the same period last year.

The company's profit before tax rose 24% to Rs73.55 crore in Q4 FY11 against Rs59.54 crore. Profit after tax also rose 19% to Rs 52.71 crore in March quarter as against Rs44.16 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year, a company statement said. For the year ended March 2011, the company posted income from operations at Rs1,564.82 crore, against Rs1,287.98 crore for FY2009-10, an increase of 21%.

Also for the same period, DFPCL recorded profit after tax of Rs186.61 crore against Rs172.05 crore in the previous year. PAT for the year under review is not comparable with the previous financial year given the exceptional gain of Rs25.71 crore (net) arising from sale of surplus land in FY10 as against an exceptional loss of Rs3.38 crore arising from the reconstruction at Ishanya.

On Thursday, Deepak Fertilisers ended 0.21% down at Rs166.80 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex declined 1.34% to 18,335.79.


RCom gets Rs1,780 crore as second tranche from CDB

Reliance Communications has drawn down second tranche of Rs1,780 crore toward refinancing of 3G spectrum fees out of the Rs8,700 crore facility signed with China Development Bank on 9 March 2011

Anil Ambani group firm Reliance Communications today said it has drawn a second tranche of Rs1,780 crore ($400 million) from the Rs8,700-crore ($1.93 billion) loan facility it secured from China Development Bank.

"Reliance Communications has drawn down second tranche of Rs1,780 crore ($400 million) toward refinancing of 3G spectrum fees out of the Rs8,700 crore ($1.93 billion) facility signed with China Development Bank (CDB) on 9 March 2011," RCom said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

The facility includes Rs6,000 crore ($1.33 billion) for refinancing 3G spectrum fee payments by RCom and Rs2,700 crore ($600 million) for equipment imports from Chinese vendors.

"The drawn down amount will be used to refinance RCom's short-term rupee borrowings, resulting in substantial savings in its interest cost, apart from extending RCom's debt maturity profile," it said.

The loan facility, which is fully underwritten by CDB, is being funded by a syndicate of Chinese banks or financial institutions, including CDB.
This represents the first and largest ever syndicated loan for refinancing spectrum fees by any telecom company, it added.

The first tranche of Rs3,000 crore ($665 million) was drawn down on 17 March 2011. With this drawal, RCom has already drawn Rs4,780 crore ($1.06 billion) toward refinancing of 3G spectrum fees and the last tranche is expected to be drawn very shortly.

On Thursday, RCom ended 0.27% down at Rs91.30 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex declined 1.34% to 18,335.79.


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