I had the opportunity to attend and inaugurate the March by the BSNL employees organised at Kozhikode on 9th March 2017, as per the call of the BSNL Unions and Associations. Hundreds of workers marched through the streets of the city and held the rally in front of the Income Tax Office. All the leaders of the various organisations addressed. Com. Jayarajan, Convener All Unions and Associations of BSNL and DS BSNLEU welcomed all.The workers participated enthusiastically. The March was organised to protest against the anti-PSU policy of the government and especially against the NITI Ayog recommendation for closure of BSNL, MTNL etc, against formation of Tower Company, demanding free 4 G spectrum to BSNL etc.
The All Unions meeting of BSNL Unions/Associations have unanimously decided to organise One Day Strike on 15th December 2016 demanding rescinding the decision to form a Subsidiary Tower Company, taking away all the more than 65,000 towers from BSNL. It is reported that the Cabinet has already taken such a decision. The formation of a Tower Company will completely shatter the revival of BSNL.
In order to mobilise for the strike a massive dharna will be organised on 25th November 2016 in all centres.
The time is short. But BSNL Employees have always been united in front of challenges and have defeated the move of the government, or rather decisions, to disinvest, unbundle valuable copper cables, impose VRS/CRS on workers, arbitrary merger of BSNL and MTNL without considering the fully justifiable demands of the workers etc. The government had to retreat on all these occasions in front of the united might of the employees, both executives and non-executives.
The coming 4 weeks are very important. It is the time for the leaders of the unions/associations at all levels to meet each and every worker and fully convince him/her about the ‘do or die’ situation and prepare for the strike and further action, if necessary.
Towards the One Day Strike on 15th December 2016 by the entire BSNL workers!
A meeting of all unions/associations in BSNL will be held at 15.00 hours on 16th November 2016 at BSNL MS Union Office to discuss about the strategy and struggle to be organised to defeat the decision of the government to form a Tower Company bifurcating from BSNL. The initiative has been taken by BSNLEU and NFTE, the two recognised unions. The formation of the new Tower Company will have serious adverse effect on BSNL and its employees. It is is only a step to privatise the lakhs of towers constructed and being maintained by BSNL.
United struggles by the the entire workers is the need of the hour to save BSNL and its employees. We hope that all executive and Non-Executive unions/associations will participate in the meeting and help in taking suitable decisions.
UNITY FOR STRUGGLE, STRUGGLE FOR UNITY, AND UNITY AND STRUGGLE FOR PROGRESS!
It is reported that the government of India has approved formation of a tower company, bifurcating BSNL. This decision is to be condemned and opposed with all our might. The above decision of the government is to disintegrate BSNL by making it a loss making company and then sell strategically or otherwise.
The Forum of BSNL Unions and Associations has taken the correct decision to oppose the formation of tower company. The programme on 26th October 2016 should be made a massive action with participation of maximum workers.
BSNL Employees Union and the Forum of BSNL Unions and Associations have the proud record of defeating government decisions on disinvestment of BSNL, VRS/CRS of one lakh workers as also unbundling of the valuable cables for the benefit of the private players. Till now, the government could not implement any of these decisions for which the workers and unions have to be congratulated for their rock like unity and firm determination which defeated the govt. decisions.
It is hoped that all the unions/associations will join together to defeat the attack on BSNL and its workers. We can not allow BSNL to be disintegrated. Fight to the last!
All the major telecom companies viz. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio, Idea Cellular, Tata Tele Services, Rcom and Aircel, have participated in the spectrum auction held recently and got sufficient spectrum for their service and upgradation to 4G.
But what about BSNL and MTNL? Neither they have got money nor they are permitted to participate in the auction. Last time also they were not allowed to participate, but BSNL was compelled to purchase spectrum at the highest rate in the auction. The government ensured that all the Rs.40,000 crore with BSNL was somehow snatched so that it will not be able to purchase equipment, spectrum etc.
This anti-PSU, pro-corporate role of the government has to be exposed among the public in a big way. It is also necessary that the Forum of BSNL Unions and Associations, ITSA and other such organisations should raise their voice for getting free spectrum and sufficient funds for the expansion, modernisation and upgradation of technology and better service. It should be taken without any further delay.
Com.V.A.N.Namboodiri, Advisor AIBDPA and Founder Convener of the JAC/Joint Forum/ Forum addressed the following letter to Shri Manoj Sinha, Minister of state for Communications, requesting allotment of free spectrum to BSNL and also asking to implement the assurances given at the time of formation of BSNL.
AIBDPA/DOT-MIN/2016 October 07, 2016
Shri Manoj Sinha,
Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications,
20, Ashoka Road, New Delhi 110001
Sub: Assistance to BSNL – reg
You are fully aware that BSNL is struggling to improve it’s finances, provide a better service to the customers and restore it’s past glory.
After 4 years of loss, it has posted operational profit in 2014-15 as also in 2015-16 and is expected to be profitable by 2017-18. The programmes implemented and continued to be implemented like “Customer Delight Year”, “Service With A Smile” etc. as also the beneficial packages for the customers, BSNL will improve it’s position, financially as well as providing service.
The main issue for BSNL is the scarcity of funds. For the last six months or so, BSNL has been providing maximum number of mobile connection, say 20 lakh or more and still continues to be the leader. It sufficient funds are made available, there will be much more progress.
It was not that BSNL was not having funds. The Rs. 40,000 crore surplus fund was mostly taken for spectrum charges to the extent of Rs.18,500 crores, refund of an imaginary loan of Rs.7,500 crore at high interest rate etc.
BSNL was assured financial assistance at the time of it’s formation, like ADC, refund of licence fee and liberal assistances from USOF for providing loss making services in villages and remote areas for implementation of the universal connectivity policy of the government. All these, except USOF support, are arbitrarily discontinued putting BSNL in a fix.
Now that the spectrum auction is over and the government have received about Rs.66,000 crore from the same, it is our request that a portion of the same, say about Rs.10,000 crore be given to BSNL as assistance or as refundable loan without interest. This will help BSNL in a big way for recovery. As promised earlier, either the licence fee for BSNL be waived or refunded. It is also requested that the government honour it’s assurances and commitment made at the time of formation of BSNL, on which 3.5 lakh workers got absorbed themselves in the PSU.
As a representative of the DoT & BSNL Pensioners Organisation, I may submit that many of our issues are also connected with the future of BSNL.
Expecting favourable decision
(former Convener of Forum of
BSNL Unions and Associations
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
The Union Cabinet has at last approved the allotment of Rs.1,250 crore made by the USO Fund to BSNL towards compensation for the loss being made by the PSU in providing loss making connections in the rural areas and villages. The amount being paid was due in 2012 itself, but was delayed due to non-sanction by the government. At last it is decided now, but with the condition that no further such concessions will be made.
The payment of this amount was one of the important demands of the strike organised on 21-22 April 2015 by the Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations. In the meeting with the Secretary DOT on 1st May 2015 on the strike issues, secretary DOT had assured that all efforts will be made to make the payment at the earliest. But it took one more year afterwards.
BSNL has always been a target of both the UPA and NDA governments to be attacked and finished. BSNL was formed as a PSU with the intention of privatising after some time. As all know, telecom sector with its huge profit, has always been a paradise for the corporates, Indian and foreign. BSNL stands as a challenge to these corporates for minting unlimited profits. The government company had to be either killed or gradually privatised through disinvestment. In order to achieve this, BSNL has to be discredited, made loss making so that there will be on reaction from the public. The continuous growth of BSNL for the first five years was a shock to the government as well as the corporates. The move of the government to reduce the number of employees through VRS was defeated by the complete strike and sustained struggles of the workers who stood together like a rock. Move to disinvest was also defeated in the same way.
It is at this time that the government intervened and cut the entire equipment procure programme of BSNL, not once but thrice. It was just like sending an army in the forward area without arms and ammunition. Only through a magnificient strike, the damage could be lessened, which at least allowed the company to move slowly forward.
The posting of loss for the last four years encouraged the government to bring their long pending agenda of privatisation to the forefront. The proposal of NITI Ayog for strategic sale of BSNL and MTNL is nothing but handing over the companies to the corporates for garnering huge profits and grab the lakhs of acres of land in the centre of towns. People know how Maruti, the country’s prestigious company, was transferred to Japan’s Suzuki. People know how VSNL, another telecom company was handed over to Tata for a pittance.
The NITI Ayog’s present recommendation is a jerk action, seeing that BSNL is being revived after the joint efforts of the management and the workers under the leadership of Forum of BSNL Unions/ Associations. ‘Customer Delight Year’, ‘Service With A Smile’, ‘Free Night Call’ and such other programmes have improved both service and the financial position. There is an operational profit of about Rs. 2,000 crore this year and there may be real profit from next year. In such a situation, the government will not be able to implement its sinister schemes. Hence the government’s urgency to move with lightning speed for strategic sale.
The workers of BSNL will never allow a VSNL in BSNL. BSNL is their bread and butter. More than that, it is the pride and glory of the country, which served them dedicatedly and sincerely for the last one and half century with out fail. The telecom workers have a glorious past of fighting against wrong polices of the government. They will march ahead in this struggle path with maximum unity and determination.
We call upon all the Unions and Associations in BSNL to close their ranks immediately and come together under the Forum of BSNL Unions and Association to fight and defeat the sinister move of the government to kill BSNL and MTNL. The internal and other differences have to be kept aside at this crucial juncture. It is just like a national emergency for the BSNL and MTNL employees.
Remember how the private management of VSNL, ITDC Hotels, BALCO etc. after privatisation, retrenched the women workers, SC/ST employees and then more than half of the employees on one pretext or other, pushing them to the crowd of the crores of unemployed in the country. Some of them even committed suicide without finding themselves unable to maintain their families. All the assurances were broken and the workers were thrown to the steets.
Do we in BSNL want such a situation? NO! We will fight and defeat the ugly monsters who wants us to be thrown to the streets. Let each and every worker come under the mighty Forum to save BSNL and save their own future!
UNITY FOR STRUGGLE !
STRUGGLE FOR UNITY !
UNITY AND STRUGGLE TO DEFEND BSNL AND OUR EXISTENCE !
The members of the Core Committee of the Forum, viz., com. P. Abhimanyu, Convenor, com. Prahlad Rai, GS, AIBSNLEA and com. K. Sebastin, GS, SNEA, called on Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications. The representatives welcomed the MoS(C) by offering bouquet and shawl. They made a brief presentation to the Hon’ble MoS(C) on the efforts being taken by the Forum of BSNL Unions and Associations for the revival of BSNL. They explained about the “Service With A Smile” programme of the Forum, currently being implemented by the Non-Executives and Executives of BSNL. Further, the representatives sought the intervention of the Hon’ble MoS(C) to ensure the next pension revision for the BSNL retirees. They also requested that pension contribution by BSNL should be calculated based on actual basic pay and not on the maximum of the payscale. The Hon’ble MoS(C) told the Forum representatives to give these issues in writing, and assured that they would be taken care of.(Courtesy: BSNLEU Website)