In a strange development, the public sector lender, the Union Bank of India, had demanded that some of its staff adhere to a special “Navratri” dress code or be prepared to pay fines.
The detailed order came on a colorful circular issued on October 1 by the Digitization Department, at the Mumbai central office, signed by the Managing Director, AR Raghavendra.
Following an outcry on social media, UBI management reportedly withdrew the flyer, which appeared late Sunday evening.
In the multicolored order, Raghavendra had asked all on-site staff and supplier partners to follow a daily dress code for the festival – from October 7, yellow, green, gray, orange, white, red, royal blue, pink. , and purple for the last day – October 15.
To ensure compliance, he warned of a fine of Rs 200 each for failing to adhere to the color code as well as daily group photos of all staff.
On October 14th there will be a “Chaat Party” and staff members have been advised not to bring their lunch boxes, in addition to indoor games for staff and managers, after lunch from 15 hours.
“We ask all of you to make yourselves available and not keep any meetings,” Raghavendra said, signing a “request” for all of you to follow the color code scheme for the day and make the celebration a great success.
The All India Union Bank Employees Federation (AIUBEF) did not accept the diktat and sent a letter to UBI Managing Director and CEO Rajkiran Rai G., demanding strict action against the Managing Director.
The eminent scholar and CPI-M deputy from Madurai, S. Venkatesan, sent a letter to the UBI, calling Raghavendra’s circular “very atrocious”.
“This would not only damage the image of the state bank and also violate the human rights and secular values of this great country,” Venkatesan said, demanding the withdrawal of the circular and measures against the lost manager.
Taking umbrage, AIUBEF general secretary Jagannath Chakraborty said issuing official instructions for the celebration of a ruling religious holiday, setting a dress code and imposing sanctions are not routine matters and would have required senior management approval.
“This has never happened in the Bank’s 100-year history. It should immediately withdraw the circular,” said the leader of the AIUBEF.
“We believe he did not get the clearance… However, whether he got it or not, we hereby file a strong protest against such righteous and dictatorial action by Raghavendra,” Chakraborty said.
He stressed that a religious holiday like Navratri should be observed and celebrated in private and “not officially in a PSB which holds the secular fabric of our society in high esteem”.
“The celebration of a festival is a voluntary phenomenon that has no room for any instruction / coercion far from talking about the imposition of penalties. The GM must know that in order to exercise power, one must first have the power.” , added Chakraborty.
The AIUBEF asked the General Manager under what rule the General Manager had the power to impose penalties for non-compliance with the nine-color dress code, even on public holidays!
“We demand that he be held accountable and also that appropriate steps be taken to use the logo, platform, etc. of the Bank in order to fulfill his personal desire by abusing official power,” Chakraborty said.
Bankers said they did not remember “such a thing ever” like dress codes, photoshoots, parties and indoor games in the office, across the banking industry and said that the UBI must immediately act against the agent concerned to convey the correct message to the Brotherhood of National Banks.
Discover the latest videos from DH: