To Kolkata AIC of AIBDPA

Delegates from all parts of the country have started their journey to Kolkata to attend the All India Conference of All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association (AIBDPA). The biggest BSNL-DOT Pensioners Association, since its formation in 2009, has been continuously and vigorously fighting fr getting justice to the pensioners.

It is working in close contact with BSNLEU and AUAB and is giving full support and solidarity always and now for the three days strike also. In all centres in the country, AIBDPA is organising demonstrations, rally etc. in support of the strike.

They very well understand that the interests of both the pensioners and workers are connected.

TODAY’S PENSIONERS WERE YESTERDAY’S WORKERS AND TODAY’S WORKERS ARE TOMORROW’S PENSIONERS!

BSNL Three Days Strike – Government exposed

The success of the three days strike by BSNL employees and the vast propaganda and news reports have exposed the double game of the government and the DOT. Their assurance given to the AUAB in earlier discussions have not been implemented. Their favour to reliance Jio stands exposed. How BSNL is being attacked by the government itself is also exposed. People are gradually understanding that existence and growth of BSNL is necessary to stop the corporates taking over the telecom sector and squeezing the public, if BSNL is not there.

The statistics from each circle shows that vast majority of the workers have gone on strike. AIBDPA in all circles have organised demonstrations extending their support and solidarity to the workers. They well understand that today’s workers are tomorrow’s pensioners and also that yesterday’s workers are today’s pensioners.

Hearty Congratulations to the striking workers.

Three Days Strike to save BSNL – news reports

More than a lakh employees and officers working with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) have started the three-day nation-wide strike highlighting their long pending issues including the allocation of 4G spectrum to the public sector telecom entity and wage revision. The massive participation of workers in various circles of BSNL conveys a strong message to the centre which has been constantly trying to destabilise the Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).

The strike which had been called by All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) – a united platform of various organisations including BSNL Employees’ Union, National Federation of Telecom Employees, All India Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Executive’s Association, Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association, All India Graduate Engineer and Telecom Officer’s Association, Telecommunication Employees Progressive Union, BSNL Officers Association among others – started the protest at 12 am on Monday, and it will continue till January 20.

The striking workforce paid homage to the CRPF forces who had been killed in the Pulwama terror attack on Monday morning. Following the attacks, Jammu and Kashmir circle of BSNL has been excluded from the strike.

Along with the strike call, AUAB has put forward an eight-point charter of demands. Allocation of 4G spectrum to BSNL is the primary one in the demand charter. Though the private operators were allotted 4G spectrum in October 2016 itself, BSNL is still waiting for the 4G spectrum. The absence of 4G services reduces the competency, and it may eventually lead to the dismantling of BSNL.

“The effect of the closure or disinvestment of BSNL or MTNL will be that there would not be any competition and the corporates like Reliance Jio would raise the charges as much as they want since there is no public sector service to curtail the charges,” said VAN Namboodiri of BSNL Casual and Contract Workers Federation.

“Secondly, if it is disinvestment, the corporate sharks are waiting for the land assets of the BSNL/MTNL, as had happened in the case of VSNL by Tata. Another aspect is that only BSNL is serving in certain border areas and in Naxal-affected regions. At the time of the floods, natural calamities etc., it is only BSNL which comes to the rescue,” he said.

The proposals regarding allocation of the 4G spectrum had been submitted by BSNL in December, 2017. In the meeting that was held on February 24, 2018, the minister had assured that 4G spectrum would be allotted to BSNL. But the promise is yet to be fulfilled even after so many protests and meetings.

“Abnormal delay in the allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL is adversely affecting the financial revival of the Company. NITI Aayog and Finance Ministry, which doled out huge concessions to bail out the private operators, are opposing 4G spectrum allotment to BSNL,” AUAB said in statement.

Other demands by the employees include payment of pension contribution by BSNL as per the government rule, approval for BSNL’s Land Management Policy without any delay, scrapping of BSNL’s outsourcing for the operation and maintenance of its mobile towers etc.

The final demand in the charter is the settlement of the left out issues of the 2nd Pay Revision Committee. (Courtesy: Newsclick)

Three Days BSNL Strike started – Support and Solidarity. Congratulations to the striking workers!

The three days strike by 1.70 lakh BSNL workers has started by 00.00 hours today, 18-01-2019 on the major demands including 4G spectrum to BSNL, Pay and pension revision etc. Casual contract workers have started the strike on their own demands. The central trade unions, Confederation, AIBDPA, NFPE, BEFI and others have extended solidarity and support.

Congratulations for the BSNL workers and contract workers for the successful strike!

Three Day Strike by BSNL Workers – A Struggle for justice, a ‘Do or Die struggle’.

The Three Days strike by 1.70 lakh of BSNL employees from the midnight of 17th / 18th February 2019 is a fight for survival of BSNL and its workforce. It is a fight for justice to BSNL and its workers. In reality, it is a fight against the anti-worker, anti-people neo-liberalisation policy of the government, intended to liquidate the telecom PSU, BSNL, in order to clear the road for Reliance Jio, the telecom company, owned by the richest person in India, Mukesh Ambani. The proposal  to take all measures including closure of BSNL, though later denied by the government, shows to what extend the government has become an open advocate of privatisation and destruction of Public Sector.

The story of telecom is not very old. But its growth has been fantastic. The telephones were was introduced in India in the early part of last century as part of the P and T Department. It was monopoly of the government. It was at first manual exchanges, including magneto exchanges.The growth from magneto and central battery exchanges to the modern exchanges was quick and fast. By 1970s, India had one of the largest telecom network in the world. All the latest communication technologies were introduced which enabled the subscriber to call national and international numbers from their own telephones.

Till this time due to various reasons, including national interest and secrecy as also the cost of the infrastructure, telecom services were the monopoly of the central government. The modernization of telephone system ensured that this is an area where big money could be made. This was also the period when the USSR, the first Soviet  country, collapsed and the world economic order changed from bi-polar to supremacy of the capitalist powers led by US.

The central Government also started the Liberalisation, Privatisation, Globalisation (LPG) policy of exploitation of the people. The priority of the public sector was taken away and privatisation of PSUs became the order of the day. How to  privatise Telecom was the  question before the government. It was not easy to privatise the telecom services being run by the government all of a sudden. The National Telecom Policy (NTP) 1994 allowed entry of private operators for providing telecom services. Licence for providing mobile services were granted to private companies, but denied to the telecom PSU MTNL and DOT. ( When BSNL was formed in 2000, it was also not granted permission to start  mobiles services).

Mighty strikes were organised against privatisation and corporatisation of telecom services. However in the last moment, the three recognised federations agreed for corporatisation with certain assurances from the government for pension payment by government, regularisation of casual labours etc. (Of course half a dozen unions, including E.III(N) union  opposed corporatisation and organised many strikes as mentioned above.) BSNL was formed on 1st October 2000 with many assurances from the government regarding its financial viability, support from USO Fund etc. But within a few years these were stopped one by one.

BSNL was making good profit for about 9 years. Denial of mobile services for the first few years, not allowing purchase of required mobile lines, allotment of inferior spectrum, confiscating all the reserve fund available with BSNL in one way or other, Favouring private telecom companies at the expense of BSNL, not filling up of vacancies created by retirement of about two lakh workers, corruption at top level, no initiative by the BSNL management for a long time etc. resulted in incurring loss for the last few years. The anti-PSU policy of the government was the main reason for the loss.The suggestions given by the Forum/Joint Forum/AUAB ( the joint forums of the unions and associations in BSNL) were ignored.

Government tried to weaken BSNL through disinvestment, VRS, unbundling of copper cable, formation of Tower Company carving out of  BSNL, merger of BSNL and MTNL etc, but the united struggle by the officers and the employees could stop most of these.

Modi Government is aggressively privatising /disinvesting PSUs one after another and BSNL is a big target. Reports are coming in the press ( later denied by the government) that all options including closure of BSNL is under consideration. This is a dangerous situation. Such a situation is being created to allow Reliance Jio to take the entire telecom sector and exploit the 100 and more crores of subscribers by increasing the telephone charges, as have happened in many countries. This is not only an issue of the workers, but the issue affecting the entire country. It is against this first and foremost, that the entire telecom workers, including officers, coming to about 1,70,000 are going on  a three days strike from 18th to 20th February 2018. The strike will start in the midnight of 17th/18th February.

In addition to the survival and improvement of BSNL, the other demands include allotment of 4G Spectrum to BSNL, Pay revision w.e.f. 01-01-2017, Pension Revision, reduction of pension contribution related to actual pay etc.

The one lkh casual contract workers are also going on strike on the same days with the demands of regularisation, minimum wage, against retrenchment, payment of wages in time etc. It is to be noted that these workers have not been paid wages for the last 2 to 8 months in different places.

The All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association (AIBDPA) has extended all support and solidarity to the strike. They will sit in dharna along with the striking workers.

The Central Trade Unions have extended their support and solidarity to the strike and demanded the government to concede the just demands of the BSNL workers.

Only a few hours are left for the start of the strike. Despite many discussions, due to the adamant stand of the DOT and the BSNL management, the workers are left with no other options other than going on strike. This strike needs the full support of the people.

This is a ‘Do or Die’  Strike for both BSNL and its workers! Let us make it a big success!

[ AUAB has decided that there will not be any strike in J and K due to the emergent situation there. The strike in all places will start after paying salute and homage to the 40 Jawans who sacrificed their lives in the terrorist attack in Kashmir]

BSNL Casual contract workers on strike on 18-20 February 2019

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The one lakh and more casual and contract workers engaged in BSNL will be going on three days strike from 18th February to 20th February 2019 on the above demands. BSNL has been completely negating these demands. These are issues on which several struggles have been conducted. Sustained struggles have become necessary to achieve the demands.

 

Confederation on struggle path – Confederation Circular dated 16-02-2019

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DECISIONS OF THE NATIONAL SECRETARIAT MEETING OF CONFEDERATION

National Secretariat Meeting of Confederation held at New Delhi on 15.02.2019, after detailed deliberations, took the following important decisions. Com. K. K. N. Kutty, National President, presided.
Confederation National Secretariat Strongly Condemned the barbaric attack on Indian security forces by Pakistan sponsored terrorists, killing 40 Jawans. Confederation conveys its deepest Condolences to the bereaved family members of the Jawans who sacrificed their life for the nation.

CONFEDERATION DECLARES THREE PHASE CAMPAIGN AND STRUGGLE.

FOR WORKING CLASS, ELECTIONS ARE ALSO PART OF STRUGGLE.

CHANGE IS INEVITABLE.

The BJP-led NDA Government is going to complete its five years tenure. General Elections to the Parliament is going to be declared shortly. Based on our five years experience, Central Govt. Employees and Pensioners and their families have to take a position and use our right to vote to protect our interest and the interest of the Nation at large. We should remember that “Ballots are more powerful than bullets” in a democratic country.

As far as 32 lakhs Central Government employees and 33 lakhs Central Govt. Civilian Pensioners are concerned this five year period is the worst in the post-independence period. None of our demands are favourably considered by the NDA Government, rather we have been betrayed and our hopes ended is despair. The same is the case with three lakhs Gramin Dak Sevaks of the Postal department and thousands of casual, contingent and contract workers.

Even though the Group of Cabinet Ministers headed by Shri Rajnath Singh, Home Minister and Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister had given categorical assurance on 30.06.2016 that Minimum Pay and Fitment formula will be increased, in 2018 December, Govt. made it clear in the Parliament that “no such proposal is under consideration of the Government, at present”. Much publicity was given for the Constitution of “NPS Committee”, but the demand to “Scrap NPS &; Restore OPS” is rejected and even the demand for ensuring guaranteed Minimum Pension (i.e., 50% of the last pay drawn or Rs.9000/- whichever is higher) was also turned down. Again, Govt. replied in Parliament that the demand to scrap NPS & Restore OPS cannot be considered favourably due to various reasons. NPS employees are retiring every month with a megre amount of Rs.1000/- to 3000/- as annuity pension. Retirement of each NPS employee is just like a death due to uncertainty about the future life of NPS Pensioner and the family dependent on him/her.

HRA arrears from 01.01.2016 to 30.06.2017 was denied and each employee lost an average Rs. One Lakh. MACP Bench mark, date of effect from 01.01.2006, promotional hierarchy, everything fell on deaf ear. None of the anomalies of 7th CPC are settled. Option-I parity recommended by 7th CPC to Pensioners is mercilessly rejected. Revison of wages and pension of many Autonomous bodies are still pending. Compassionate appointment has become a cruel joke, as majority of the cases are rejected. Trade Union rights are under attack and pro-BJP Unions are given undue favours. All negotiating forums including National Council JCM are either defunct or ineffective.

More than six lakhs posts are lying vacant due to undeclared ban on recruitment. Three lakhs low-paid Gramin Dak Sevaks are cheated by denying arrears of pay for 30 months to be calculated proportionately on the basis of pay scales recommended by the Kamalesh Chandra Committee. Many positive recommendations are either rejected or diluted. Thousands of Casual, part-time, contingent, daily rated mazdoors and contract workers are denied equal wage for equal work. Regularisation of GDS and Casual/Contract workers has become a mirage. None of the 10 points demands of Confederation is settled including sectional demands of various cadres. None of the demands raised by JCM National Council Staff Side and National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) are also settled.

More and more attacks on existence of Central Govt. departments and employees are made. Privatisation of various functions of Railway department, outsourcing of more than 200 items in Defence sector, fast move to corporatize Postal, Closure of 12 out of 17 Govt. of India Printing Presses etc. are threatening the very existence of thousands of employees.

In short, under the BJP led NDA Government our wages and allowances are under attack, our job security and existence is under attack, our social security and pension is under attack, and our trade Union rights and facilities are under attack. Shall we vote for continuation of aggressive implementation of this destructive policies. No, not at all. It is in the above background Confederation National Secretariat has decided to implement the following campaigns and agitational programmes.

I. CAMPAIGN FORTNIGHT FROM 2019 MARCH 15TH TO 30TH CULMINATING IN MASS RALLIES AT ALL STATE HEADQUARTERS AND DISTRICT HEAD QUARTERS.
Intensive campaign among the employees, pensioners and their families and also among the public should be conducted during the fortnight. General body meetings, conventions, group meetings, office to office campaign, seat to seat campaign etc. are to be organized by each COC and each affiliated organization. As a culmination of the campaign programmme mass rallies of employees and pensioners are to be organized in an impressive manner at all state Head Quarters and District/Divisional Head Quarters. Notices, leaflets, posters, boards etc. are to be printed and widely circulated. Maximum publicity through print and electronic media and also through websites and other social media is to be given. 10 point charter of Confederation, of which the 1st and the most important demand is “Scrap NPS & RESTORE OPS”, shall be the basis of the campaign and mass rallies. Wherever Confederation units (COC) are not there, NFPE Divisional Secretaries shall jointly take the responsibility to organize the above programme and also below mentioned other programmes.

II. TWO PROGRAMMES EXCLUSIVELY ON NPS

(1) Day Long Mass Dharna on 11th April 2019 (Thursday) at all Centres – state and District Head Quarters.
(2) “Candle light protest” on 23rd April 2019 (Tuesday) at all Centres at state and District head Quarters.
In the Central Government employees sector Confederation is the only organisation which has been continuously organizing struggle programmes against NPS, including strikes. It is decided to organize the above two programmes, exclusively on one demand i.e., “Scrap NPS & Restore OPS”. These programme are to express our protest and anger against the totally negative attitude of the NDA Government and also to build pressure on other political parties to compel them give top most priority to the above demand. In both the programmes, maximum participation of employees and pensioners is to be ensured. Candle light programme is to be arranged in such a manner, so that maximum public attention and media attention will be received. In both the above programmes, like-minded political Leaders, trade Union leaders, important personalities etc. may also be invited to participate and address. Candle light procession is not required. Maximum mobilization at a selected place is enough on the evening of 23rd April 2019 (Tuesday).

III. NJCA PROGRAMMES

National Joint Council of Action (NJCA) met after a long gap. Eventhough Confederation Leadership reiterated our earlier stand i.e; revival of the deferred indefinite strike, the Railway Leadership (AIRF & NFIR) are reluctant to give a call for strike, for their own reasons. Finally it is decided to organize the following two programmes.

1. 13th March 2019 – NPS Dharna and Demonstration at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi
A massive demonstration – cum – dharna will be organized under the auspices of National JCA to highlight and focus the demand for the withdrawal of New Pension Scheme and restoration of old Pension Scheme for Central Govt. Employees. The National JCA will simultaneously write to all Political parties to make their stand clear on the issue of New Pension Scheme in their respective manifestos. The National JCA will spearhead a campaign amongst the employees for acceptance of the demand by the Political Parties. The dharna will be at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, and the same will be participated by the employees of Railways, Defence and Confederation working in and around Delhi besides NJCA Leaders. On the same day similar dharnas and demonstration will be held in front of the all Central Govt. offices throughout the country. The employees will also be requested to wear black badges projecting the demand for withdrawal of NPS.

Confederation National Secretariat calls upon all COCs and affiliated organisations to mobilise maximum number of Central Govt. employees from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar on 13.03.2019. Dharnas and demonstrations may be organized in all major centres of other states, if possible jointly with Railways and Defence or Confederation alone.

2. 28TH MARCH 2019 – FOR REVIVAL OF JCM FORUMS

A protest day long dharna will be organised at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, on 28.03.2019, in which all National Council Members will take part, to highlight the need to revive the JCM forums, thus ensuring constant and continuous interaction between the Government and the employees. It will also focus the intolerable attitude of the official side even in issuing orders, where Supreme Court has given the verdict in favour of the employees. The Cabinet Secretary will be informed of this decision well in advance. A huge demonstration will also be organized on the same day in front of dharna venue in which employees working in and around Delhi will participate.

National Secretariat of Confederation calls upon the Delhi C-O-C and affiliated organisations to ensure maximum participation of employees from Delhi in the above programme on 28.03.2019.

IV.NCCPA PROGRAMME – PENSIONERS DEMANDS – 15TH MARCH 2019 – NEW DELHI

National Coordination Committee of Pensioners Associations (NCCPA) will be organizing a mass dharna at New Delhi on 15.03.2019 demanding early settlement of Charter of demands submitted by NCCPA to Govt. National Secretariat Members of Confederation, COC Delhi and all affiliated organisations are requested to mobilise maximum employees from Delhi to participate in the NCCPA dharna on 15.03.2019.

V. A resolution on important demands of Central Govt. employees and Pensioners

is adopted in the National Secretariat meeting which is to be circulated widely among the Central Govt. employees and Pensioners during the campaign fortnight. Copy of the resolution will be exhibited in the Confederation website shortly.

VI.INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY ON 8TH MARCH 2019

National Secretariat decided to celebrate International Womens Day on 8th March 2019 in a befitting manner alongwith likeminded organisations wherever possible or separately by Confederation. Confederation Womens Sub Committee office bearers Com. Usha Bonepalli (Chairperson) Com. R. Seethalakshmi (Convenor) Com. Gita Bhattacharjee (Joint Convenor) had attended the National Secretariat meeting. An article written by Com. Usha Bonepalli on the theme of the 2019 Women’s Day and also about the importance of International Womens Day will be published shortly in the Confederation website.

VII. NEXT NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CONFEDERATION

National Secretariat decided to conduct the next National Conference of Confederation at Nagpur (Maharashtra). COC Nagpur will convene their meeting immediately and fix the dates and venue of the Conference. A preparatory committee will also be formed at Nagpur shortly to commence the preliminary work in connection with the National Conference.

VIII. ALL INDIA TRADE UNION CAMP

All India Trade Union Camp, as already decided in the last National Secretariat meeting will be organized after General Elections.

IX. FINANCIAL REVIEW

National Secretariat decided to request all affiliated organisations and COCs to remit their quota arrears before 15.03.2019. Details of quota and arrears is already sent to all by Financial Secretary Com. Vrigu Bhattacharjee. As the Financial position of Confederation CHQ is precarious, all affiliates and COCs are once again requested to remit the quota and arrears before 15.03.2019.
(Courtesy: Confederation website)

Article on BSNL Casual Contract workers in Frontline

A well documented article on the sad state of the BSNL Casual Contract workers is published in the ‘Front Line’ February 15th issue. It is written by Smt. T.K.Rajalakshmi, an expert on Telecom matters. An article to be read by all connected with BSNL casual and contract workers.

Talks fail – AUAB decides to go ahead with the strike.

Today the CMD BSNL and Director HR met the AUAB leaders. The AUAB representatives told the Management that, they are prepared to accept 3rd Pay Revision with 5% fitment, as offered earlier by the DoT. However, they demanded that this commitment should be given in writing by the DoT, so that the AUAB can consider deferment of the strike. Even this demand of the AUAB is not accepted. Further, the DoT has also diluted it’s earlier assurance to give DA neutralisation. The DoT is demanding that the AUAB should call off the strike, in view of the terror attack in Pulwama. The Secretary, Telecom, has put a condition that she would not meet the AUAB leaders, unless they call off the strike. Immediately after the meeting with the BSNL Management, all the General Secretaries of the AUAB met and decided to go ahead with the strike. The AUAB has also decided to exempt J&K circle from the strike, to ensure maintenance of services, in the backdrop of the terror attack. The AUAB requests all the circle and district unions to organise the strike powerfully.

[Date : 16 – Feb – 2019](BSNLEU website)

Red Salute to Com. S.K.Vyas and Com.N.J.Iyer on thier death anniversary!

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Comrade N.J.Iyer, former President of NFPTE, long time time General Secretary of R.III. union and a respected leader of the central government employees passed away on 13th February 2000. He was a militant leader and was arrested and jailed during National Emergency. He has written detailed history of the P and T Movement.

Com. S.K.Vyas, the legendary leader of the central government employees and pensioners and long time Secretary General of Confederation of Central Govt. employees and Workers as also that of National Co-ordination Committee of Pensioners’ Association (NCCPA) left us on 13th February 2015. In uniting the central government employees, bargaining with the government on the issues of CG employees and leading the struggles – there is no parallel for him.

I was fortunate to work with both of them and get guidance and advice from them. They have been role models of trade union functioning. They were examples of high thinking and very simple living.

Red Salute to the great leaders Com. N.J.Iyer and S.K.Vyas on their death anniversaries!