50% Merger of IDA with pay- 3 Days dharna from 28-05-2008

The Central government issued orders for merger of 50% DA with pay to its employees from 01-04-2004. The merger of 50% IDA with pay for CPSUs was decided by the government wef 01-01-2007. Despite this decision, BSNL management did not issue orders merging IDA with pay for its own employees. A lunch hour demonstration was held on 13-05-2008 as per the call of the joint Forum demanding immediate orders. The management wanted the unions to agree for 10% disinvestment, VRS, delay in wage negotiation, Promotion policy etc. for issue of IDA merger orders, which is completely unjust and unfair. The meeting of the JF with CMD BSNL on 27-05-2008 could not settle the issue. Hence JF called for 3 days protest dharna from 28-05-2008 in Corporate Office, all circles and divisions.

The dharnas were well participated though called with short notice, which gave a strong message to the management that the workers will not surrender their rights or cow down before threats. In Delhi, in front of the Corporate Office, more than 500 comrades participated in the dharna. Com. Basudeb Acharya, M.P. and senior leader of the CPI(M), inaugurated. It was addressed by all leaders of the JF.

Meeting with Minister on29-05-2008

As a result of the massive dharnas, the Communications Minister Shri A.Raja called the Joint Forum for discussion. After discussion, he directed the CMD BSNL to issue the orders on IDA merger on that day itself. Accordingly, BSNL issued the orders on the same day. It was a great achievement.
The joint struggle of the workers has won victory on the spot. The dharna was called off accordingly.
A meeting was held with the Secretary DOT on the issue of VRS, Disinvestment proposal, granting of Navaratna status, 5 Promotions, allotment of 3 G Spectrum, fresh tender of 45.5 million and 93 million mobile lines etc. No satisfactory result could come out. Hence as per the decision of the JF, demonstrations were organized on 02-06-2008 along with wearing of badges while on duty with the demands printed on them.

Against merger of ITI with BSNL

In between, the government was proposing merger of ITI with BSNL. As per decision of JF, massive demonstrations were organized on 29-07-2008 at all levels against the proposed merger, since ITI was a manufacturing PSU, while BSNL was a service provider. Convener, JF met the ITI unions’ leaders and convinced them about the stand taken by the Joint Forum. JF sent a detailed strong letter to the Communications Minister on 16-07-2008 against the merger. The proposal was deferred after the protest.
Joint Forum strongly opposed the purchase of hundreds of vehicles for the ITS officers, when the company was facing financial crunch. It exposed the unnecessary expenditure and gave wide publicity, which put the management in bad light.

Since the ITS absorption was being delayed, the Joint Forum demanded repatriation of BSNL executives and non-executives back to DOT. The letter dated 17-09-2008 put it strongly that there cannot be any discrimination to the executives and non-executives.
The JF also demanded the DOT that the 93 million tender for mobile lines should be finalized and the equipment purchased without delay. (To be continued)