The National Telecom Policy is being finalised by the Dept. of Telecom and will be submitted to the government within one month as per press reports. There is no doubt that it will be in favour of the private telecom companies and especially for Reliance Jio. Each earlier NTP has been against the interest of BSNL and in favour of private companies and nothing different is expected from this one. What else can be expected from the Modi Government?
BSNL Corporate office has issued certain instructions to reduce the number of contract workers from the present strength, even to the extent of 10% / 20% on the plea of reducing expenditure of the company. On the basis of the same, many CGMs/GMs have started retrenchment.
BSNLEU and BSNLCCWF has strongly opposed this ill-motivated move. There is no doubt that BSNL is in difficult financial position. The revenue has to be increased and certain measures to reduce the expenditure is also necessary. The workers and their unions are fully with the management in improving the services and also revenue. It is due to the hard work of the employees and casual / contract workers that BSNL is able to provide more connections each month, despite lack of spectrum and latest technology. If the government is prepared to provide BSNL with 4G/5G spectrum to BSNL, the growth of BSNL will be phenomenal, despite predatory pricing by Reliance Jio. Government, the owner of the BSNL and MTNL is unfortunately favouring the private companies and strangulating the PSUs, BSNL and MTNL.
The casual and contract workers are continuing in DOT/BSNL for about 20 to 30 years. Many are going to reach 60 years. Their entire life has been spent by working for DOT/BSNL, even though they were being paid meagre wages and even which was usurped by the contractors and some of the corrupt officers. As long as the exploitation continued, the number of casual/contract workers increased. But due to formation of BSNLCCWF and sustained struggles, when the contractors are compelled to pay the wages as per Minimum Wage fixed by the Chief Labour Commissioner, the authorities and the contractors want to reduce the workers to teach them a lesson. This is condemnable.
Retrenchment is not a solution. By retrenchment, the present work is reduced adversely affecting the services. Many of the works of the 2 lakh employees retired, the contract workers are doing. Retrenching them is not only against the interests of the BSNL, but also is a crime against the workers who worked their entire life / many years for the company.
There are many areas where unnecessary expenditure can be reduced just like foreign trips, purchase of unwanted equipment, utilisng the vacant buildings and staff quarters, selling the scraps, strict control over the purchase of diesel and petrol, austerity in the use of electricity, restricting unofficial use of vehicles, reducing outsourcing, strict collection of dues from subscribers and government departments, pulling up the corrupt officials etc. These are only some measures, but after careful study by the management in discussion with the unions can find out much more. It is to be noted that these contract workers who are working 10 to 12 hours or more are not getting even 5% of the wages that the top officers in the company are being paid.
Thousands of families are going to be starved, if the retrenchment takes place. This is to be stopped. Management should drop the idea to retrench contract workers. Many are going to be 60 years of age and gradually the number will come down also. They should be provided with gratuity etc.as per rules.
BSNLCCWF and BSNLEU are making all efforts and united struggles to ensure that these long serving workers are not retrenched. We demand the management to stop the present move to retrench the workers immediately.
Shri Manoj Sinha, Communications Minister in reply to a question in Parliament stated on 6th April 2018 that
‘At present, there is no proposal for merger of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)’.
The proposal was there earlier, but the government was compelled to shelve it since the unions took a strong stand that before merger, that the huge loss of MTNL should be written off and that the more than 46% share sold by MTNL should be bought back. If that is accepted by the government, both BSNL and MTNL will be benfitted. The government does not want to accept the unions’ proposal, since it will strengthen both BSNL and MTNL, which it does not want.
Failing the merger proposal, Government is on the move to divide BSNL by bifurcating Tower business, to destroy BSNL. The entire unions are against the formation of a separate company. They are on struggle against formation of Tower Company since it is the end of BSNL. Through sustained struggles, Unions are on the move to defeat the bifurcation proposal of the government.
Privatisation / closure of BSNL is not only against the interest of the workers, but also against the best interests of the more than 110 crore mobile/ telephone subscribers. The tariffs of the private companies are less, only because BSNL/MTNL are there. Once they are finished, the tariffs will go high as much as twenty times, as in international level. Hence as long as BSNL exists, it is beneficial for the entire country. Once it is not there, subscribers will be at the mercy of the corporates, as is the case with the diesel and petrol prices now. The prices will go far beyond the international prices to recover the present losses to the telecom companies. It is the responsibility of the workers that this truth is communicated to the people.
The CEC meeting held at Agartala, noted with serious concern that, the BSNL Management is on an outsourcing spree. Each and every work, including those works which can be done by our employees, are being outsourced. May be “some quarters” are getting benefitted out of these outsourcings. It is an undeniable fact that huge money of the Company is going into the drain, due to these outsourcings. This has got to be stopped. So far as the Non-Executive cadres are concerned, Direct Recruitment is being made only in the JE cadre. But, no recruitment is being made in the cadre of Sr.TOA, even though acute shortage is there, due to large scale retirements. Hence, the Company has to go in for direct recruitment in the cadre of Sr.TOA. A lot of wasteful expenditures are severely affecting the finance of the Company. BSNLEU has already drawn the attention of the CMD BSNL, as well as the Director(Finance) on this count. We learn that recently, four officers from the Corporate Office, have visited Sri Lanka, in connection with a cricket match. This only shows that the top Management is in no mood to curtail wasteful expenditures. Instead, the Management tries to curtail the existing medical facilities of the employees, in the name of overcoming the financial crisis. The Agartala CEC meeting has decided to give a detailed note to the Management, demanding the curtailment of these wasteful expenditures. The Corporate Office has recently given an instruction to the CGMs to substantially reduce the number of the contract workers. Immediately, this may result in some savings. But, in the long run, this will seriously affect the quality of our services, since the contract workers are largely engaged for maintenance works. In view of the foregoing, the Agartala CEC meeting has decided to conduct a “Call Attention Day” on 03.05.2018. Lunch hour demonstrations will be conducted throughout the country on that day, by wearing black badges. The following are the demands for the “Call Attention Day”.
Stop the mad rush for outsourcing works.
Curtail wasteful expenditures of the Company.
Do not curtail the medical facilities of the serving and retired employees.
Do not retrench the contract workers.
Conduct fresh recruitment in the cadre of Sr.TOA. (Courtesy: BSNLEU website)
Massive demonstration took place on 27th March before Sanchr Bhawan participated by a large number of workers as per the call of the AUAB against the move of the government to form the Tower Company w.e.f. 01-04-2018. All the comrades were arrested, but released in the evening.
Congratulations to the comrades for organising the Sanchar Bhawan March and expressing our strong protest.
The decisions taken by the meeting of the AUAB after the historic Sanchar Bhawan March is reproduced below. The nefarious game of the government to destroy BSNL should be defeated at all costs. The programme includes (1) Massive dharnas on 12th April 2018 at Corporate Office, Circles and districts (2) March to Governors’ residences and submission of memorandum on 24-04-2018 and (3) National Convention at New Delhi on 9th / 10th May 2018. (4) Contacting M.P.s to address the Convention.
The AUAB Circular is given below:
After today’s demonstration programme, that was held in front of the Sanchar Bhawan, an
emergency meeting of the AUAB was held in FNTO’s office. The meeting was presided
over by Com.Chandeshwar Singh, GS, NFTE BSNL. Representatives of BSNLEU, NFTE,
SNEA, AIBSNLEA and FNTO attended this meeting. The following decisions are taken:-
(1) The meeting thanked and congratulated all the comrades who participated in today’s
demonstration in front of Sanchar Bhawan, defying the prohibitory orders of the
police, and making the demonstration a resounding success.
(2) The meeting decided that the AUAB should intensify it’s struggle, demanding the
rolling back of the Subsidiary Tower Company. To achieve this, it is decided that
massive dharnas should be conducted at the Corporate Office, circle and district
levels on 12.04.2018. It is also decided that the AUAB should inform the BSNL
Management that, the employees will go on indefinite strike, if the BSNL Board gives
it’s approval to the direction of DoT, for making the Subsidiary Tower Company
(3) The meeting reviewed the progress in the wage revision matter. As agreed upon in
the meeting held with the Hon’ble MoS(C) on 24.02.2018, the DoT has sent the file
for the approval of the DPE. It is decided that the leaders of AUAB shall meet the
Secretary, DPE, tomorrow the 28.03.2018, to press for an early approval by the
(4) It is decided that “March to Governor’s Residence” programme should be conducted
in all circle head quarters on 19.04.2018, and memorandum should be submitted to
the Governor’s. This “March to Governor’s Residence” should be effectively utilised
to make a campaign among the general public, against the Subsidiary Tower
(5) The meeting decided that a National Convention should be organised in the
Mavalankar Hall at New Delhi, on 09th or 10th May, 2018, demanding the rolling back
of the Subsidiary Tower Company. It is also decided that prominent MPs should be
invited to address this Convention.
AIBDPA has called upon all its units to fully participate in the agitational programme. The call is given below:
“It is a do or die battle, involving the very survival of BSNL. So nobody ,who wants BSNL to continue as a viable PSU extending telecom services to the people of all parts of the country at affordable rates, could be a mere on looker , when an agitation for protecting it takes place. So as in the past, AIBDPA also should be part of this struggle. CHQ office bearers, Circle Secretaries and District Secretaries are requested to take the initiative to ensure maximum participation of pensioners in the Mass Dharna on 12-04-2018 and the March to Governor’s Residence (Raj Bhawan) on 19-04-2018.”
A meeting of All Unions and Associations of BSNL(AUAB) is held yesterday the 22nd March,2018, in FNTO’s office. Representatives of BSNLEU, NFTE, SNEA, AIBSNLEA, FNTO, SEWA BSNL, BSNLMS, BSNLOA participated. The meeting reviewed the developments that had taken place after the meeting with the Hon’ble MoS(C) that was held on 24th February,2018. It is observed that the government is moving fast to operationalise the Subsidiary Tower Company from the 1st of April, 2018, totally ignoring the strong opposition from the entire employees of BSNL. In view of this, the meeting decided to launch agitational programme to stop the same. Decision is taken to conduct “lunch hour demonstrations” on 27th March,2018, in front of Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi, as well as at circle and SSA head quarters, throughout the country. A memorandum, opposing the Subsidiary Tower Company will be submitted to the Hon’ble MoS(C) at Sanchar Bhawan. Same memorandum will be submitted to the respective CGMs and the state governors, to be forwarded to the MoS(C). CHQ calls upon the circle and district unions to successfully implement the call. (BSNLEU Website)