The Reserve Bank of India Officers’ Association has sought review of the Bank’s human resources department’s directions, asking all senior officers in the rank of General Manager to attend office from August 31, 2020 and other officers to attend office at 20 per cent of their working strength at central office departments, to ensure safety of employees and their family members amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, senior officers of the rank of Chief General Manager are attending office daily.
The Association emphasised that rotation of officers should be strictly adhered to without any extraneous considerations for the safety of all concerned.
“At the same time travelling in cabs is not safe. Therefore, our earlier suggestions on dedicated transport arrangement may be taken into consideration. As per the Circular issued today (August 21) the employees attending the Office have to swipe their ID cards to mark their attendance. This involves many persons coming in contact with the same surface/system which cannot be said to be safe,” RBIOA said.
The Association underscored that two officers at the Bank’s World Trade Centre office (Mumbai) have been found Covid-19 positive and feared that the number may rise if those who came in contact with them are tested positive.
Moreover, the possibility of a number of asymptomatic employees cannot be ruled out, the Association said in a letter to the central bank’s HRMD.
“It is to be noted that WTC houses the offices of Department of Supervision and Legal Department on four floors out of the total 32 floors in that building and RBI has no control over the maintenance and overall housekeeping of the building.
“Needless to say, it poses a severe life risk to all working in those critical departments. We urgently urge you to close the offices in WTC at least for a week and restrict the attendance in that building in future,” Jeet Pathak, General Secretary, RBIOA, said in the letter.
According to the letter, the directive, if implemented, threatens RBI’s senior leadership by exposing all the senior officers at once when Maharashtra alone accounts for about 22 per cent of the total Covid-19 cases in the country.
Referring to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s updated Covid-19 guidelines, which requires all those above 50 years, with and without co-morbidity, in Mumbai with symptoms to get admitted to Covid Care Centre 2 Hospital, the letter said in an unfortunate event of senior officers getting infected, it would become impossible to find beds in hospitals.
The Association said the Bank has been functioning smoothly and without any issues with majority of its staff working from home. Hence, there is absolutely no need to change the winning formula.
Emphasising that RBI has been a trend setter when it comes to allowing work from home (WFH) as it was the first to go for WFH among public institutions, RBIOA said this is precisely the reason why the Bank hasn’t suffered much casualties.
“We do not find any reason to compare ourselves with commercial banks and other institutions whose nature of work is different from a central bank and may not allow employees to work from home,” it added.