By Trilok Singh
The Joint Forum of Trade Unions and Associations in the public sector general insurance companies, having around 58,000 employees and officers, have unanimously rejected the offers given by the General Insurers Public Sector Associations of India (GIPSA) management.
The long-pending wage revision talks between the General Insurers (Public Sector Associations of India) and the qualified unions in the public sector general insurance companies started on June 22, 2022. The wage revision for public sector general insurance employees was due from August 1, 2017.
The GIPSA management offered seven per cent hike from the current date or five per cent hike from current date and two per cent arrears with effect from August 1, 2017. All the unions and associations rejected in one voice the GIPSA management’s disgraceful, de-motivating and humiliating offer of wage revision and demanded wage parity in insurance sector which should not be less than the wage revision in LIC.
The 18 constituents of Joint Forum of Trade Unions and Associations held their meeting and discussed the wage revision offer made by GIPSA. The meeting was convened by Girish Khurana, national convener.
The constituents condemned the approach of DFS and GIPSA companies in dealing with their workforce. JFTU constituents decided to write to the CMDs/ GIPSA and DFS appropriately giving them seven days’ time to resolve the issues and come forward with a respectable offer at par with LIC. The JFTU constituents shall meet on June 30, 2022 to evaluate the situation and decide rigorous trade union action including strike/ indefinite strike, if required.
It is on record that on April 4, 2019, then GIPSA chairman Girija Kumar and other CMDs categorically assured that whenever the wage revision will be finalised it will be effective from August 1, 2017 and will be better than that in the LIC.
The PSGI companies have been giving huge dividends to the government of India since inception and have been carrying forward all the government schemes of social uplifting with full zeal and dedication even during the time of Covid-19 epidemic, the workforce has served the economy and the society as corona warriors over the last two years.
During this period, loss of life of more than 500 employees and their family members happened. The unions feel that the management and the DFS have shown their utmost insensitivity to the most genuine demand of settling wage revision, pending for the last 59 months, increase in NPS contributions of 14 per cent, improvements in family pension and other important issues.
Also, the employees and officers have been working in adverse situations as the DFS and regulator have failed to ensure level-playing field for PSGI companies in comparison to the private sector insurance companies. The unethical practices of the private sector and failure of the regulator in controlling them has been detrimental to the business interests and performance.
At number of times, the PSGI companies worked without fulltime CMDs and full-time directors. Regret to say that ever since superannuation of CMD New India in February 2022, there is no regular CMD in New India till date which is a listed one and no full-time directors in PSGI companies.
The lack of seriousness on the part of DFS is adversely affecting the companies and customers. The decision as per the proposal of 2018 Budget speech by the then finance minister to merge the three companies — National Insurance, United Insurance and Oriental Insurance — have not been carried out which has caused continuous doubts in the minds of customers and intermediaries resulting adversely.
The PSGI companies have always been the flag-bearers of social security schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, Corona Kawach Policy, CSR, Rural and Crop Insurance and many more such policies. In PMSBY, the premium of Rs 12 for death cover of Rs 2 lakh is not sufficient to cover the expenses and administering the scheme.
The PSGI companies have been giving insurance services to the common man, farmers and the citizens at a very low premium and are serving more than 50 crores of citizens with around 58,000 employees and more than five lakh agent force.
Further it is to be mentioned that the employees and officers have been carrying out their agitation for the last three years on the following demands:
- Immediate settlement of wage revision pending from August 1, 2017.
- Increase in company’s contribution for PF for the NPS employees to 14 per cent.
- Improvement of family pension at the rate of 30 per cent without any capping.
- Pension for all under 1995 scheme and updating of pension. (IPA Service)