(File Photo, Visakhapatnam Conference 22-3-2001)

BSNL Employees Union is completing 19 years of its fruitful existence on 22nd March 2020. It is BSNLEU’s 20th Foundation day.

BSNL Employees Union, the majority recognised union of the BSNL workers, was formed on 22nd March 2001, in the National Convention of eight telecom unions held at Visakhapatnam, in the presence of Com. E.Balanandan, President of CITU and one of the greatest working class leaders India has seen.

Though started with about 50,000 – 60,000 workers, it grew to be the biggest union in BSNL with more than one lakh workers, despite the fact that there was no recruitment and thousands were retiring every year. This was a herculean task, but the united team of the BSNLEU leadership made the ‘impossible in to possible.’

BSNLEU, as the recognised union separately, and also jointly with other unions, both executive and Non-executives, defeated the nefarious designs of the central government, both NDA and UPA, to disinvest BSNL, unbundle the precious copper cables and so on. BSNLEU took the initiative to form the Joint Forum of the Unions and Associations, under which organisation, the battles were fought and the anti-worker decisions of the government defeated.

BSNL and its workers are  facing serious challenges to their existence. The neo-liberal policy initiated by the Congress government in 1991 and aggressively being implemented by  the present BJP government is making it difficult for the PSUs to sustain and grow. In the name of Revival Plan, 78569 employees have been compelled to take VRS in BSNL. Their many problems are there.  4 G Spectrum is still not allotted.Pension Revision is also delayed, without any justification.

The two associations, AIBDPA and BSNLCCWF formed at the initiative of BSNLEU has grown and strengthened. But the wages for the contract workers have not been paid for about one year. The demands of the workers, the pensioners and the casual contract labours are interconnected and inseparable. That is why united struggle.

It is in this situation that the  20th Foundation Day of BSNLEU  is coming. This time, there may not be much celebration, meetings etc on mass scale, due to the COVID -19 impact. But let us remember our past struggles and sacrifices so that we can advance with more vigour, determination and strength. BSNL has to be saved and improved to give better service to the nation!