Union Bank Imposes Penalty for Navratri Dress Code Violation, Withdraws Order After Backlash and Union Letter to CEO
Moneylife Digital Team 11 October 2021
A bizarre circular issued by public sector lender, Union Bank of India had made it mandatory for “all staff and vendor partners working on-site” to adhere to a special ‘Navratri’ dress code or be ready to cough up a steep penalty of Rs 200. The bank was forced to withdraw the circular on Saturday after a furore on social media and when the bank union wrote a strongly worded letter to the bank management. Strangely, banker sources point out that the withdrawal circular released on 9th October in the evening appears to have been backdated to 7th October so that the bank is not seen to have bowed to union pressure and public opprobrium.
The dress code order was issued on 1st October by general manager (GM), A. R. Raghavendra asking “all staff and vendor partners working on-site” to adhere to a day-wise colour code for all the days of Navratri (from 7th October to 14th October), and that a daily “group photo” will be taken. 
 "On the auspicious occasion of Navratri, all staff members and vendor partners working on-site are requested to follow day-wise colour code", and listed- " Yellow will be worn on Thursday, October 7, green on Friday, October 8, Grey on Saturday, October 9, Orange on Sunday, October 10" and so on and so forth. The circular went so far as to say that for “check shirts base colour will be considered” (sic). It threatened a penalty of Rs 200 on those who didn’t comply with the order. The carrot for employees was the promise of a ‘chaat party’ and indoor games on 14th October to celebrate the festival. What is truly bizarre is for a public sector bank to plan and propose celebrations based on “Navratri colours”, which is a fun custom that has caught public fancy over the past few years and has hardly any cultural background. 
The All India Union Bank Employees Federation (AIUBEF) shot off a letter to the UBI Managing Director and CEO Rajkiran Rai G., demanding stringent action against the GM leading to a withdrawal of the circular. 
"Navaratri is a religious festival and that be observed and celebrated privately and not officially in a public sector bank that maintains high esteem towards the secular fabric of our society. Celebration of any festival is a voluntary phenomenon that has no room for any instruction/ coercion far to speak of penalty," said the union, asking the CEO to appropriate action against the officer concerned for using Bank's logo for 'fulfilling his personal desires'.
 “This has never happened in the 100 years’ history of the Bank. He should immediately withdraw the circular,” the AIUBEF leader highlighted.
11 months ago
we won't be surprised if some other bank in the race, would ask 'sashtang prnam' of all employees checking in before the manager, every day.
12 months ago
Action should be taken on him for ordering this type of unlawful activity.
12 months ago
Dress decency is imperative in all customer-led organizations. This should not lead to the maddening prescription like the one the Union Bank did. Just because it pays salary, it does not have the right to deduct amounts for illegitimate penalties like this dress code for Navarathri. DFS should impose penalty equivalent to the penalty it collected plus 12% interest not per year but per day because the penalty is per day!
12 months ago
These days religion and religious practices are being merged with business practices - to the
detriment of both
12 months ago
Again an attempt to please the ruling party antiques.
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