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Massive protest dharnas were organised throughout the country on 25th November 2016 as per the call of  all unions/associations of non-executives and executives in BSNL against the move of the government to form a Subsidiary Tower Company bifurcating  BSNL. In BSNL Corporate Office also, the dharna was participated by large numbers of comrades who have come from UP(W) and Haryana Circles as also from the corporate office and NTR. The workers were agitated and angry that the government and the BSNL Management is moving against the interest of BSNL and its workforce.

Why workers are opposing the Subsidiary Tower Company?

  1. There is no need for a separate tower company. BSNL has got more than 65,000 towers at present and they are working well and helping the improvement of  services.
  2. Although government says that it will be a fully subsidiary company of BSNL, this is only temporary. Within no time, it will be separated and will be put under strategic sale as in the case of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited(VSNL). It will cease to be a BSNL Tower Company and will be a Adani Tower Company/Reliance Tower Company/Tata Tower Company or some other private Tower Company according to who takes  it.
  3. Once it is a separate company, BSNL will have to pay charges of using the same to the Private company. This will be just like BSNL paying for undersea cable charges to private companies although BSNL  paid funds for installing the same.
  4. The Reliance Jio which has not much  towers so far badly need the same. A separate tower company will be the answer.
  5. Such a situation will be the decline of BSNL, which is on fast revival path.
  6. Divide and Destroy’ is the strategy being adopted by the government.

But the government, private corporates and  BSNL management have forgotten certain aspects:

  1. This is not the first time that the government and management have tried to ‘Divide and Destroy’ BSNL. First they decided to ‘unbundle’ the priceless copper cables of BSNL, which lies underground connecting the entire country. This conspiracy was defeated by the united strike decision of the BSNL employees and the Secretary DOT was compelled to give written assurance to the Joint Action Committee that the cables will not be unbundled.
  2. Government decided to retrench, in the name of VRS, first 50,000 employees, then 1,00,000 employees and lastly 70,000 employees. United agitation by  BSNL workers ensured that these anti-worker actions are defeated.
  3. Government decided to disinvest BSNL thrice and offered 3% of shares to the employees. Through stiff resistance and strike, the workers ensured that government could not implement its decision.
  4. The government withdrew all assistance and financial support to BSNL, which were assured at the time of formation of BSNL, with the intention of making BSNL unviable to enable it to privatise the PSU. Due to consistent efforts by the unions/associations and workers, BSNL is brought in to operational profit, in which the management also had a great contribution. As such the ill-intention of the government was defeated.
  5. The government move to unbundle cables, Retrenchment/VRS, Disinvestment etc. could be defeated only because of the strong unity and firm determination of  BSNL workers, both executives, non-executives, contract workers and even the retired employees. It is to be remembered that the one lakh strong contract workers went on strike every time there was a strike by the employees, though many of them were retrenched from work and victimised. Under the leadership of BSNL Casual and Contract Workers Federation, they stood with the employees, since they understood that their future depended upon the existence of BSNL. In the same way, the pensioners under the leadership of All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association stood with the workers by participating in all programmes (other than strike). Their future is also connected with the existence of BSNL.
  6. While the policy of the government is ‘Divide and Destroy’, the counter policy of the workers has been ‘United Struggle’, ‘Better Service’ and ‘Revival of BSNL.’ The workers have won so far, although through much sacrifice and suffering.
  7. The massive dharnas have once again shown that BSNL workers are united and firm against the formation of ‘Subsidiary Tower Company’ and will fight to the last to defeat the attack on the ‘survival of BSNL.’
  8. If the government and management do not go back from this attack on BSNL, the 2 lakh BSNL workers and  one lakh casual contract workers, with the support of almost 2 lakh DOT-BSNL pensioners  will fight to the last and defeat the sinister game of the government.
  9. All the workers should be individually contacted, explained and  made ready for the One Day Strike on 15th December 2016 for which notice has already been served by the unions/associations. It is not a strike ritual. It is a real strike in which each and every employee is convinced and ready to fight till the last.