Dear Comrades, Colleagues and Brothers,
As a former Convener of the Joint Action Committee, Joint Forum and Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations, I wish to present the following appeal to all of you for a patient hearing and favourable consideration.
As all of us are fully aware, the formation of BSNL, corporatising the DOT services was the first step towards privatisation. Even before that, private telecom companies came in the scene. All the assistance, support etc. promised by the government was an eye wash to make the employees get absorbed in the new corporation, BSNL.
Within a few years, all of us experienced the move towards privatisation of BSNL by government through disinvestment and retrenchment. It was only through the united mighty struggles of the workers under the leadership of the JAC/Joint Forum/Forum that disinvestment and VRS/CRS could not be implemented in BSNL. It was a great achievement of the united struggle of the workers. It is to be noted here that almost all the PSUs stand disinvested and VRS/CRS implemented.
Privatisation not only means handing over this great government asset to the private for garnering huge profits, it also adversely affects the national security and results in loss of jobs to the employees.
The latest position of the government is to implement the recommendation of the NITI AYOG, to strategically sell BSNL and MTNL. When protests arose from the workers, NITI AYOG denied the report, but it is known to all that it is a ruse to confuse the workers from going on struggle. The present situation is very critical to the future of the PSU and the workers.
Through the initiative of the Forum and full co-operation from the Management, maximum efforts are made to improve the finance and better the services, which has borne fruit. This year, 2015-16, BSNL is in operational profit of about Rs. 3,000 crore. It is estimated that by 2017-18, BSNL will post profit.
It is, at this stage that the new danger of strategical sale is coming. At this crucial stage, we find the Forum, which has to take initiative, stands divided. BSNL Unions/Associations have always come together when there was any serious danger to the company and the workers.
This is the time for action. Any delay may result in untold hardship to the employees, sale of BSNL and retrenchment of tens of thousands of workers, as was done in the case of ITDC Hotels, VSNL etc. Once there is no BSNL and MTNL, the charge for telecom services will rise many fold, as the experience of other countries have shown.
Action requires unity of all the workers/unions/associations. The JAC/Joint Forum/Forum has been the united force of the workers to defeat the anti-worker policy of the government. There have been differences between the unions/associations on demands or priority on demands etc. but all have stood together like a rock when any serious attack came on BSNL or the workers. This is the force that kept BSNL alive.
Therefore, my appeal to all the Unions/Associations is that at this crucial juncture let us join together under the leadership of the Forum as before and fight the menace of strategic sale and privatisation. The government move can be defeated only if we all are united and ready for struggle.
I hope that all unions/associations will ponder on these issues and will come together as before and unitedly fight for the survival of BSNL and the workers.
With Warm Regards,
Former Convener of JAC, Joint Forum and Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations
New Delhi, 06-102016