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BSNL Employees Union Completes 14 Years of Fruitful Service

V.A.N.Namboodiri

22nd March 2015 is the 15th Foundation Anniversary of BSNL Employees Union. It was on 22nd March 2001 at Visakhapatnam at the National Telecom Convention that BSNLEU was formed in the benign presence of veteran trade union leader and CITU President Com.E.Balanandan, P and T legendary leader Com.K.Adinarayana and AIIEA General Secretary Com. N.M.Sundaram. The Central Executive Committee of the 7 existing unions in BSNL decided to merge together and formed the new union, BSNLEU. Coms. Sisir Bhattacharjee and Moni Bose as Patrons, J.N.Mishra as President and V.A.N.Namboodiri as General Secretary were unanimously elected as office-bearers of the newly formed union with representatives from all the affiliated unions as office-bearers.

The Forward March of BSNLEU has not been easy. It has been a path of thorns and stones. But with the support of the dedicated workers and leaders, all obstacles were faced with determination. In the first membership verification in 2002, BSNLEU lost recognition for a few thousand votes. But from the second verification in 2004 onwards, it became the majority union and won recognition and continues in that position till date.

In the negotiation with management in the first wage revision w.e.f. 01-10-2000 which was also conversion from CDA to IDA scale, though not recognised, BSNLEU took a pivotal role in preparing the Memorandum as also discussions. The wage agreement was a success, which was won by all the unions together.

After becoming the recognised union in 2004, BSNLEU took up the long pending issues as also put up new and dynamic demands. Within the next few years, it took up the next wage revision, more promotions and other issues. BSNLEU can be proud of that it negotiated  and won a best Wage revision from 01-01-2007, Four Time bound Promotions instead of two promotions, the biggest Group Insurance in the world, Liberal loans from the PSU Banks, gift of watch, regular promotional examinations and so on.  BSNLEU continues to take such important issues of the workers.

But the real contribution of BSNLEU was that it tried and succeeded in bringing all the Unions and Associations of Non-Executives and Executives together to defend the attacks on the existence of the telecom PSU, BSNL. The call for strike in 2006 against the decision of the government to unbundle the cable, compelled the government to give written assurance that it will not unbundle cables, will not implement VRS and will not privatise BSNL. The historic strike on 11th July 2007, compelled the government and management to purchase at least half of the tender of mobile lines, which was cancelled earlier at the behest of the government. Several agitations and campaigns were organised  for the improvement of services  and for purchase of required equipment. The struggle continues even now , with the decision to go on two days strike on 21-22 April 2015 to save and improve BSNL. The massive Parliament March on 25th February was part of this great struggle.

BSNL Employees Union took initiative in the formation of the All India BSNL-DOT Pensioners Association and also BSNL Casual and Contract Workers Federation. Both the organisations have grown and BSNLEU leaders and workers have given all support and solidarity to their struggles. A big change could be made in the condition of the casual and contract workers through sustained struggles.

BSNLEU has been participating in all the struggles called by the 11 Central Trade Unions in the country including the successful 48 hours strike on 20-21 February 2013. It is part and parcel of the trade union movement in the country.

BSNLEU is also part of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and its TUI(Public Services). Its representatives have attended world conferences and implemented its decisions sincerely.

The country and the working class are facing serious challenges. The neo-liberal policy and anti-working class actions of the UPA government are being aggressively implemented by the Modi Government. Labour laws are being amended against the working class. Disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs have become the main agenda of the government. Communal tensions are being built up. Naturally, sustained struggles are coming up in every sector to defend the rights of the workers and the common people. There is a great role for the BSNLEU in this context.

As usual, the 15th Foundation Day of BSNLEU is also to be celebrated with holding of meetings, social activities etc. etc. At the same time, the immediate task is to prepare the workers for the 2 days strike on 21-22 April 2015 for the revival of BSNL and a better service to the nation. The Save BSNL Campaign should reach each and every worker and maximum number of people without whose support, our struggle will not succeed.

Let us March ahead with the Red Flag for the creation of a better world!

BSNLEU Zindabad!

Workers Unity Zindabad!

Inquilab Zindabad!