The campaign by the non-executive unions in BSNL in connection with the membership verification for grant of recognition to the union/s ends by evening of today, 8th May 2016. The polling will take place on 10th May through out the country. The results will be announced on 12th May. All the Unions are trying their maximum to canvass at the end of the campaign.
Though it was not possible to cover all the circles/ states as in the past verifications, I attended campaign meetings in Kerala, Andhra, Karnataka, Maharashtra, ALTTC, Telecom Factory Mumbai, Rajasthan, Uttarakahnd, Odisha, UP East and UP West. (I was compelled to cancel the programme to Bihar in the last moment due to illness of my wife.). While General Secretary might have visited almost all the circles, other CHQ office-bearers shared the responsibility covering the entire SSAs. This was a great campaign in which hundreds of meetings were held, at least one in each SSA and much more. The exercise might have been done by other unions participating in the verification also.
All the BSNL buildings – offices, exchanges etc. were full of wall posters, banners, flags and other campaign materials of the unions. The social media like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, website, blogs etc.were also used. But one thing I noted was that the maximum publicity was done by BSNLEU, the main recognised union. With regard to the participation of workers in the meetings also, it always had the first position. Of course, the retirement of more than thirty thousand workers since the last verification reflected in the number of workers present.
The allies who changed sides – TEPU and NFTBE from BSNLEU camp to NFTE and SNATTA from NFTE camp to BSNLEU – naturally explained the reasons for their change. BSNLEU had a lot of achievements to campaign, while NFTE mainly concentrated in attacking BSNLEU. This is usual in any election, nothing special. Generally it did not go beyond the permissible limits and cordiality between the leaders and workers were maintained.
The third alliance lead by FNTO aimed not at getting recognition, but at least to get one seat in the councils, which it missed last time by a small margin of votes.
The trend as per my interaction with the workers, participation in the meetings and the general discussions is that BSNLEU, the present main recognised union, which got 48.6% of total votes last time, may get 52% to 55% or more and is expected to become the Sole Bargaining Agent and the only recognised union. The % of votes by NFTE is expected to come down marginally, despite its massive campaign.
Anyway, my assessment is on the basis of my experience in the areas I campaigned. For a better assessment, more statistical calculation is required. It can be done after the voting is over. Anyway, by 12th, the results will be out.
If BSNLEU gets more than 50% of votes as expected and become the Sole Bargaining Agent, the entire basic situation in negotiation will take a new form. BSNLEU will have to bear more responsibilities, being the lone recognised union.
Whatever is the result, all the unions/associations will have to jointly work for strengthening BSNL and also for improving the position of the workers.’STRUGGLE FOR UNITY, UNITY FOR STRUGGLE AND STRUGGLE AND UNITY FOR PROGRESS’ will have to continue as our main guiding policy.