Com.K.G.Bose remembered

 

 

7th July 2019 is the 98th birth anniversary of the great revolutionary leader Com.K.G.Bose. He was born in 1921 and passed away at the comparatively  young age of 54, on 11-12-1974.

Com.K.G. Bose is the inspiration of thousands and thousands of Central employees and in particular that of P and T employees. He fought with the government for the rights of the workers and also fought against the revisionism in the organisation. His life and work is a saga of struggle, sacrifice and achievement.

I fondly remember the many times when I got the opportunity to be with him in the Conferences, in tours and in discussions. He was simple and friendly to all.

On his birth anniversary, I pay respectful homage! Red Salute  to Com.K.G.Bose!

Telecom Officers on trial in France after privatisation.

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Former top Executives of France Telecom, including the company’s CEO, Director (HR) and Deputy Executive Director are undergoing trial in France. The charge against them is that, they created a hostile work environment, as a result of which 35 telecom employees committed suicide between 2007 and 2010. France Telecom was privatised in 2003. In 2007, an aggressive plan was implemented to cut down the strength of the employees. Accordingly, 22,000 employees, out of the total 1,30,000 workforce, were retrenched. Consequent to this, the workload of the employees increased tremendously. Further, the employees were also subjected to humiliation, accuses Solidaires Unitaires Democratiques, a French trade union. For example, a 28 year old employee hanged himself in 2009, after being transferred. The day before he killed himself, the employee had worked a 12 hour shift, with a single 30 minute break. In 2013 France Telecom was re-branded as Orange. If found guilty, the top Executives will get jail term upto one year and a fine of 15,000 euros as fine.

Whatever happened in France Telecom appears to be repeating in BSNL. As a cost cutting measure, the government wants to retrench 40,000 employees through VRS and by rolling back the retirement age from 60 to 58. The young employees of BSNL are welcoming the government’s move to implement VRS and reduction of retirement age. But they do not know what will happen in BSNL thereafter. What exactly happened in France Telecom, between 2007 and 2010 is likely to repeat. The youngsters have to think about it. (BSNLEU Website)[Source: Business Insider – 10th July, 2019]

 

59th Anniversary of the Epic Strike of July 1960 – Homage to the Martyrs!

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July 11th, 2019 is the 59th anniversary of the Historic Five Days Strike of the Central Government employees.

The strike was against the retrograde recommendations of the II Central Pay Commission, which did not recommend  minimum wage as per the 15th Indian Labour Conference approved formula as also no automatic DA whenever the cost of living was increased, as demanded by the unions. The increase in the wage was minimal.

Under the Joint Council of Action of the Central Government employees Federations  (AIRF, AIDEF, Confederation and NFPTE), the biggest Indefinite strike in independent India started on the night of 11/12th July 1960. The government refused to negotiate despite continued efforts of the JCA as also many Members of Parliament including Feroze Gandhi ( Husband of Indira Gandhi). The government was adamant. Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru called the strike as ‘Civil Rebellion’ and utilised the entire government machinery to crush it. Essential Service Maintenance Ordinance (ESMO) was promulgated and thousands of workers were arrested, convicted, dismissed, suspended, terminated and charge sheeted. All India leaders were arrested and put in Tihar Jail. Never before India has seen such brutal attack on any strike in the country.

It is to the credit of the workers and their loyalty to their organisation that the strike continued for five days. The entire train running system, the postal and telecom services were all badly affected. Unable to continue against the brutal attack of the government machinery and victimisation, the strike was called of on the fifth day.

5 Railways workers in Dohad were killed by police firing. 2 comrades in Kerala (one from postal and one from telephones) committed suicide unable to face the termination from service. Many were punished with rigorous imprisonment. Public, trade union leaders and outsiders were arrested for supporting the strike. Recognition of the striking federations/unions were withdrawn.

The workers faced these attacks with full confidence in their organisation and leaders. They knew there is no other way to defend their rights and justified demands. They saw the most cruel face of the so called ‘democratic government’.

PTTI and many international and foreign trade unions supported the strike and demanded the government to vacate victimisation.   In the Parliament, Nehru government was put on the dock by eminent Members of Parliament like A.K.Gopalan, S.M.Banerjee, Nath Pai and many others, who demanded vacation of all victimisation.

It took more than three years for the vacation of victimisation and re-recognition of the unions and federations. But the scars remained for a long time.

Though crushed, the 1960 strike was not in vain. For that matter, no struggle is in vain. The government was compelled to act against the price rise, appoint two committees one after another on the issue of DA and has to start discussion with the unions on the constitution of negotiating machinery, which later became the Joint Consultative Machinery(JCM).

As a participant of the historic strike, I have my own hard experience, which I may narrate some time  later.

The 1960 strike has many lessons for the working class. The determination, dedication and sacrifice of the leaders and workers who were part  of the great struggle will ever be remembered.

The Central Govt. employees are once again on the struggle path. The struggle against the retrograde recommendations of the VII CPC will continue. The workers are waiting for decisions of the Modi Government.

On this 59th anniversary of the epic strike of 1960, we pay homage to all the participants of the strike and especially to those who sacrificed their lives in the struggle!

BSNL issues raised in Parliament

The issues connected with the BSNL are raised in the Parliament by many M.P.s. Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad assures of Revival Plans, but nothing is done. Despite assurance regarding allotment of 4 G Spectrum, which is most important, no action has been taken. Delay is denial. The govt is waiting for all the private telcos to catch maximum subscribers before granting  spectrum to BSNL.

Further. whenever the name of BSNL is mentioned some adjective like cash strapped / loss making / incipient / ailing etc. are added to show that there is no future to the company. It is the same with many media. An impression is being tried to be created that BSNL is not going to last and it is better to shift to some other company. The debt of the other companies are many times more than BSNL, but neither government, nor the media call them, sick/incipient/loss making/ ailing etc. It can be seen that this is a campaign by the government and the private companies to show BSNL in a bad light.

What is the truth? Despite government not allotting 4G Spectrum, not allowing to take loans, not allowing to monetise its buildings and lands, reduced staff from its earlier position, bad propaganda, BSNL is giving lakhs of fresh connections, increasing its market share and trying to give a better service.

What is required by the government is to immediately agree to the very reasonable demands raised by the unions and associations of BSNL, including immediate allotment of 4G and 5G spectrums, allow the company to take loans, drop the proposals of VRS and Retrenchment (which are the initial steps for privatisation), honour the commitments given at the time of formation of BSNL in 2000 by the Vajpayee Government and ensure that BSNL is strengthened.

It is not the workers or the customers who are responsible for the weakening of BSNL. It is the same workers, that too with a number of 3.5 lakhs, who made the company profitable for many years till the govt. blocked its development by stopping purchasing of 5 crore / 9 crore mobile connections and other such anti-BSNL actions.

Let the government not kill its own child BSNL, but help it restore to its former glory!

Decisions of the AUAB meeting held on 03.07.2019

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A meeting of the AUAB was held yesterday. Com.K. Sebastin, GS, SNEA, presided over. General Secretaries / representatives of BSNLEU, SNEA, AIBSNLEA, BSNL MS and ATM attended the meeting. The meeting expressed it’s severe protest over the taking over of the ALTTC and other properties of BSNL, by the DoT. The meeting also discussed about the developments related to the monetisation of BSNL’s vacant lands, towers and fibre. After in-depth discussions, the following decisions are taken unanimously:-

1. To meet the new CMD BSNL and to discuss about revival of BSNL and certain other issues.
2. To call upon the Executives and Non-Executives of BSNL, to intensify the implementation of the “BSNL At Your Door Steps” movement, with the view to increase BSNL’s revenue collections.
3. To write letter to the DoT, opposing the taking away of BBNL’s maintenance works from BSNL.
4. To write reminders to the Hon’ble MoC & IT and to the Secretary, Telecom, for granting meeting to the AUAB.
(BSNLEU Website)

Fake posts in the name of V.A.N.Namboodiri

Some of our comrades have informed me that some fake posts in my name is being circulated, stating that BSNL will not survive, BSNL has no chance and other rubbish things. Kindly ignore these fake posts. Probably the authors of these fake posts are worried about the massive propaganda we are making against the policy of the government, the danger of privatisation and closure etc. It means that our posts are hitting the target.

Very sad news – Suicide by BSNL Contract workers in W.Bengal, Kolkata

BSNL contract workers are not being paid salary for the past 6 months and the families of these contract workers are in starvation. Despite BSNLEU and BSNLCCWF are continuously taking up this issue with the Management, no improvement has come. In the meanwhile, news has come that 5 contract workers have so far committed suicide in West Bengal and Kolkata circles, unable to face the crisis created due to non-payment of wages. BSNLEU has written to the CMD BSNL, communicating these tragedies and demanding immediate action for payment of wage arrears. (BSNLEU Website).

We express our deep condolence at the sad demise of the workers who have contributed much for the revival of BSNL. BSNL would immediately ensure that the wages are paid so that such sad occurrences do not take place. The government and BSNL management is fully responsible for the suicides. The families should be given compensation.

Do not destroy ALTTC, the prime training centre and centre of excellence of BSNL

One more attack on BSNL from the Government.

The DOT has issued orders on 21st June 2019 intimating its decision to take over Advanced Level Telecom Training Centre (ALTTC) campus,Ghaziabad, the prime institution for telecom advanced training and also an institution declared as “Centre of Excellence” by International Telecom Union (ITU). This is being done on the plea of establishing National Telecommunication Institute for Policy Research, Innovation and Training (NTIPRIT). The take over process is on the line.

The first point is that NTIPRIT is already working in the ALTTC campus and two floors in the Administrative building in the campus are allotted to it. Other critical installations like INMARSAT, ISRO GSAT Gateway, ERP Center etc. are also working in the campus. For the functioning of NTIPRIT, it is not at all necessary to take over the entire campus, which is the property of BSNL and which is utilised by ALTTC and other prime institutions. This is only a carefully devised plan to divest BSNL of this prime asset.

Let us understand what is ALTTC? It is one of the two advanced level telecom training centres of BSNL, the other being the BRABRAIT at Jabalpur. ALTTC gives various training to the top officers and Engineers of BSNL. It is also conducting special courses for various institutions regularly and earning money for BSNL. In the Financial year 2017-18, it organised 595 courses with a total number of 8078 trainees with a total number of 68538 dys. In 2018-19, the courses increased to 595, trainees to 11145 and the days to 96405. BSNL is earning good amount through these training courses.

Why the government is taking over this prime campus, which has been functioning extremely well all these years? It is mainly to capture the assets of BSNL. The entire campus is about 80 acres which will be worth about Rs. 4,856 crores @ moderate rate of Rs. 1,50,000 per sqm, in the heart of Ghaziabad-Delhi. The cost of the several buildings in the campus including the three hostels etc will come to about Rs. 190 crore. Cost of laboratories, movable assets etc. will come to many crores. It is these valuable assets that the government want to take over arbitrarily.

It is to be mentioned that most of the assets throughout the country have not been transferred to BSNL, despite decision for the same in 2000 at the time of formation of BSNL. Inspite of strong demand from the BSNL and the Unions in BSNL, this is not implemented. In the meanwhile, government is taking over many buildings, which are with BSNL. The heritage CTO building in Bengaluru is already taken by Govt. for accommodation of TRAI, Many such buildings have been confiscated by the govt. The latest is the ALTTC.

BSNL is struggling to survive and improve. The stiff competition and the favouritism to the private companies, pro-PSU policy are some of the reasons. Now BSNL has requested DOT to hand over all the assets due to it from the government for monetisation etc. for improving financial position. It is at this time, that even the existing assets are forcibly taken over by Govt.

We express our strong protest against this attack on the BSNL and demand that the decision to take over the ALTTC campus by govt should be withdrawn.

Com.N.T.Sajwani, former SG, NFTE, no more

With great sorrow it is intimated that Com. N.T. Sajwani, former Secretary General of NFTE (BSNL), and former circle secretary, E.III and NFTE, M.P. Circle, passed away today at Bhopal. He was a veteran leader of the telecom workers. He was the General Convener of the Reception Committee of E.III Bhopal AIC in 1991, where Com. Moni Bose was elected as the General Secretary.
Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, friends and comrades!

Karnataka Convention of PSU Contract Workers at Bengaluru

An inspiring and well attended convention of PSU Contract workers was held on 23rd June at Bengaluru. Com. Tapan Sen, General Secretary, CITU, inaugurated the convention. Com. VAN Namboodiri, President, BSNLCCWF, Com. C.K.Gundanna, Circle Secretary, BSNLEU, Com. Meenakshi Sundaram, General Secretary, CITU, Com. K.M.Umesh, Secretary, CITU, Com. Sudarshan, District Secretary, BSNLEU, BGTD, Com. Irfan Pasha, Organisation Secretary, BSNLEU, Com. Mahantesh General Secretary Non-Permanent Workers BSNL Karnataka and other leaders addressed.
A resolution on the demands of the PSU Contract workers were unanimously adopted. A large number of workers participated.

On the same day a convention of the BSNL contract workers were also held which was addressed by Coms. V.A.N.Namboodiri, C.K.Gundanna, Mahantesh and other leaders.