The March to Parliament by the BSNL workers on 23rd February 2018 as per the call of the BSNL Unions and Associations was a huge success with massive participation of the workers from all parts of the country. Comrades from the length and breadth of the country came to the capital to show their anger and distress at the negative attitude of the government on the most important demands like wage revision, pension revision, pensionary benefits to the BSNL recruitees, cancellation of the formation of a separate tower company bifurcating the towers of BSNL, reduction of retirement age from 60 to 58 etc. Thousands and thousands thronged the capital to participate in the March. More than one thousand comrades from All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association (AIBDPA) also participated. They always participated in the programmes of All Unions and Associations, because they know that today’s workers are tomorrow’s pensioners and that it will be only through the valiant struggles of the workers that the issues of pensioners also will be settled.
The gathering point for start of the March was the large space in front of the Eastern Court, occupying the offices of BSNL and MTNL. From 0900 hours onward comrades started coming with the flags and banners of their unions/associations. By about 10.00 hours the square was filled and many comrades had to stand on the pavement of the road. The March was inaugurated by Com. Tapan Sen, M.P. and General Secretary of CITU, the mighty organisation of the Indian working class. In his powerful speech, he congratulated the workers, supported the demands and warned the government that BSNL workers not only knew how to improve the services, but also to go on mighty struggles, which will hamper the entire service. He stated that the entire central trade unions are supporting the united struggle of the BSNL workers. Comrades from other central trade unions, Com. Vidya Sagar Giri (AITUC) and Shri Zile Singh (INTUC) also address the gathering.
After the inauguration and the speeches, the Parliament March started with the banner of the ALL Unions and Associations in front with the General Secretaries leading. Slogans focussing the demands and protesting against the negative attitude of the government on the justified demands were raised, which echoed again and again in the streets of the capital. There were more than thousands and thousands of workers with a good number of pensioners also, whose future also depended upon the settlement of the demands. The procession marched through the streets of Delhi towards Parliament, where it was stopped in front of the Parliament Police Station by three lines of blockades and by a big police force. There was clashes between the workers who wanted to march ahead and the police who wanted to stop them. At last it was decided to hold the rally there itself with the advance vehicle converted in to a temporary stage. The entire street as also both the sides were filled up by the workers. Com. P.Abhimanyu, General secretary BSNLEU welcomed all and spoke about the demands and the need to continue the struggle, till the demands are met. Com. Chandeswar Singh, GS, NFTE, Com. K. Sebastin, GS, SNEA, Com. Prahlad Rai, GS, AIBSNLEA, Com. K. Jayprakash, GS, FNTO, Com. N.D. Ram, GS, SEWA BSNL, Com. Ravi Shil Verma, GS, AIGETOA, Com. Mallikarjuna, President, BSNL MS, Com. S.D. Sharma, GS, BSNL ATM and Com. G.L. Jogi spoke. Com.V.A.N.Namboodiri in his speech supported the struggle, congratulated the workers and assured that the entire pensioners and casual- contract workers will be with the BSNL workers in their fully justified struggle.
Later a meeting was held at Sanchar Bhawan between the Secretary, DOT, Smt. Aruna Sundera Rajan and the general secretaries of the unions and associations, where almost all the members of the Telecom Board were present. Detailed discussions took place and the demands were strongly put before the DOT. The meeting with the Communications Minister will be held next day, 24th February 2018.
The massive parliament March has been a wake-up call to the DOT as well as the government. The government, now can not continue its slumber on the demands of the workers. They will have to act and act decisively. It is a question of ‘Do or Die’ for the workers. As in the past, the BSNL workers workers will continue their struggles till the demands are met.
Unity for Struggle, Struggle for Unity and Unity and Struggle for Progress!