Issues settled; Strike on 5th January 2005 deferred.
Full preparations went on for the One Day Strike on 5th January 2005. Protest demonstrations, rallies etc were held and workers energized for the strike.
The Joint Forum leaders were meeting at FNTO Office at about 19.30 to finalise last minute preparations for strike. While proceedings were going on, call came from Secretary DOT intimating a meeting at his office to discuss the strike issues immediately. JF was skeptic about meeting with DOT in the last minute and especially when neither Communications Minister nor State Minister was in Delhi. Hence, JF decided that only Convener need to go.
Though it was about 21.00 hours when I reached Sanchar Bhawan, the security directly took me to the Secretary’s room. Shri J.S.Sharma, Secretary, DOT was alone. He asked me what are the important demands for the strike and I explained briefly and gave him a copy of the strike notice. He gave certain assurances, but I wanted it in writing. He called the Additional Secretary, Shri Yashwant Bhave and dictated the following letter and gave me a copy:
The letter was addressed to Shri A.K.Sinha, CMD BSNL. The full letter is given below:
Dear Shri Sinha,
Mr. V.A.N.Namboodiri, General Secretary of the BSNL Employees Union met Secretary (Telecom) today on behalf of the Joint Forum and expressed the following concern to him in connection with the notice of the strike given by the union.
1. Disinvestment in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
2. Unbundling of the local loop.
3. Grant of Navaratna status to BSNL.
4. Views of the union in connection with the proposed Telecom Policy.
The Secretary assured Mr. Namboodiri as under:
a) That there is no proposal regarding disinvestment in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.
b) That unbundling of the local loop is not under consideration
c) That all efforts will be made towards obtaining the Navaratna status to BSNL
d) That the views of the union will be duly considered as and when the draft Telecom Policy is formulated.
Yours (sd) Yeshwant Bhave.
Copy to: Shri V.A.N.Namboodiri, General Secretary, BSNL Employees Union.
The JF considered the letter and the strike was deferred as per unanimous decision. It was a great success since the disinvestment and unbundling was stopped. (to be continued)