SAVE BSNL, SAVE NATION!

When BSNL was profitable Central govt got thousands of crores of rupees as dividend, bonus, taxes, spectrum charges etc. When BSNL is in financial difficulties, govt does not help, does not allow to take loan, does not allot 4 G Spectrum etc. A profitable BSNL is profitable to the government.

The govt allotted 3G Spectrum at lower cost to private companies with liberal number of installments to pay the cost. But in the case of BSNL, it was allotted very late, the amount was much more and payment was insisted on one installment.

4G Spectrum is allotted to private companies 3-4 years back, but not allotted to BSNL so far. The file is going from department to department with the only intention to deny or delay at least.

The private companies will never part with their profit. They will ensure that due taxes, charges for spectrum are not paid or paid later when there is no other way. They take loan from the banks and never repay.

By discriminating BSNL and favouring private companies, especially Reliance Jio, the Modi government is giving a clear signal: It is not worried about the profit and benefit to BSNL and to Government. It is only interested in ensuring more and more profit for Reliance Jio. It is to be mentioned here that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo was the star attraction in the newspaper advertisements of Reliance Jio. It was an open declaration to the public and consumers that the Prime Minister of the country is the Brand Ambassador for Reliance Jio, the teleco owned by the richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani.

Of course it is well known that Modi Government is government of the corporates, for the corporates and by the corporates. SAVE BSNL, SAVE NATION!

Pay wages to BSNL contract workers, reinstate the retrenched workers.

About one lakh of contract workers engaged by BSNL and earlier by DOT, for the various important works in running the telecommunication network, have not been paid wages for the last seven months. Seven workers have committed suicide unable to face the most difficult situation, unable to look after their families. BSNL nor the government was not even human to console the grieving families, who lost their bread earner.

In the name of financial difficulties, BSNL is issuing directions to reduce the number of contract workers. Who will do the work, they have been doing so far? Can a worker be thrown out, with out giving him any benefit, not even gratuity, refund of EPF etc. ?

After continuous dharna for about 90 days, the BSNL contract workers in Kerala has started indefinite strike w.e.f. 19th September, the 51st anniversary of the historic one day strike by the Central Government employees, demanding payment of wages with arrears, reinstatement of retrenched workers etc. In Kozhikode, the Samara Sahaya Samithi has decided to organise a ‘Human Chain’ on 5th October 2019 in the city. In other districts and various other circles also agitation is going on.

We demand the government to immediately ensure that the wages are paid with arrears, regular payment is ensured and that the retrenched workers are taken back.

Govt’s Double Talk on reduction of retirement age.

In the Parliament, Prime Minister has given reply denying any proposal to reduce the retirement age of central government employees from 60 to 58. But at the same time, various reports in the press and other media are coming to the effect that the govt is moving on with the proposal to reduce the retirement age.

Of course, there is nothing to be surprised. Mody government has the credit  of double talk and violating assurances given by it.

It is the immediate task of the unions and associations to expose the govt move and defeat it.

Membership Verification over – Now it is time to fight the anti-BSNL policies of the Govt unitedly and jointly.

 

The Membership verification of non-executive unions in BSNL is over and the results are declared. Out of the total unions, BSNLEU and NFTE have been granted recognition as the first and second union. The month long campaign meetings are over.

Now it is the time to join ranks and fight against the anti-BSNL policies of the government and save BSNL. Contract workers have not been paid wages for the last 7 months. How, they and their families can manage their daily life without any money? Regular employees are not getting salary in time. This month, it was paid only on 19th. The govt, although denied in the Parliament, is going with the reduction of retirement age from 60 to 58. Contract workers are being retrenched. In the name of VRS, proposal for retrenchment of regular workers are in the pipeline. Without allotting 4G Spectrum, the development and expansion of BSNL services are blocked. Overt and covert all round favouritism is shown for Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, violating all orders.

United struggle by all the unions/associations is the need of the hour. Keeping away the temporary differences, all has to come jointly for struggle to save BSNL.

In 2005-07, such a move for unbundling of cables, disinvestment, VRS for about one lakh employees – could be utterly defeated by all the 18 unions/associations of executives and non-executives jointly, after sustained struggles.

BSNL, with its 30,000 of offices/exchanges, infrastructure, training centres, vast plots of lands, telecom factories has got the biggest infrastructure than any other telecom company. This is the asset of the people and can not be handed over to the private corporates. United hard struggles with the full support of the people is the only remedy.

SAVE BSNL – SAVE NATION!

 

BSNL contract workers on Strike in Kerala from 19th September.

BSNL contract workers in Kerala are on complete strike from 19th September 2019 demanding payment of wages including arrears for the last 7 months, reinstatement of the retrenched workers etc. The striking workers are organising demonstrations and dharna every day. BSNLEU and AIBDPA are giving full support, including financial assistance. In Kerala CCLU is organised under CITU. Strike aid committees are formed at Circle level and district level and all help including financial assistance is given.

A well attended Convention with  leaders of service organisations etc. were held at Kozhikode on 25th Sept which was inaugurated by Com. V.A.N.Namboodiri, All India President BSNLCCWF. The meeting was presided by Com. Sulaiman, CITU Secretary, also Convenor of the strike-aid committee. Com.K.Mohanan, Wkg. President, CCLU and leaders from many unions addressed and expressed solidarity and support to the striking workers.

Convention of Left Parties Protest programmes between 10th and 16th October on urgent issues.

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This convention of Left Parties on 20th September 2019 at Delhi has decided to cal for protest activities against the anti-worker actions of the govt and on the following demands

Increased public investment to generate employment. Until then the central government must provide unemployment allowance to the youth.
Ensure a minimum wage of Rs. 18,000 per month.
The government must ensure the provision of monthly living wages for the large number of workers who have been terminated.
Stop privatization of the Public Sector. Withdraw 100% FDI in defence and coal sectors. Halt the large scale privatization of BSNL, ordnance factories, Indian Railways, Air India etc.
Allocations for MGNREGA must be enhanced to ensure the payment of past dues and for providing a minimum of 200 days of work at the designated minimum wage.
A one-time loan waiver to the farmers to meet agrarian distress, stem growing farmers suicides and announcement and implementation of the minimum support price one and half times higher than the input costs.
Raise minimum monthly old age/widow pension to Rs. 3000.

This convention of the Left parties resolves to
Call upon all its units to conduct protest on these issues and organise protest activities demanding the immediate implementation of the above demands by the Modi government between 10th and 16th of October 2019.

Victory for BSNLEU for the 7th consecutive term. Congratulations!

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BSNL Employees Union has been elected as the majority union once again. Congratulations!

This the consecutive 7th time that BSNLEU has won as the majority union in the secret ballot election held on 16th September 2019. It got 48127 votes with 43.44 % of the total votes of non-executive employees. It is a great success. Congratulations to all the comrades who voted for BSNLEU as also who campaigned for it.

The victory of BSNLEU is the victory of the correct line taken by BSNLEU in defending the workers and fighting against the anti-worker policies of the government.

The workers have given clear mandate to BSNLEU. It is the duty of the organization to unite the workers for improving the services as also the condition of workers.

SAVE BSNL – SAVE NATION!

51st Anniversary of of historic 19th September 1968 strike

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51 years are over after the historical one day token strike of the Central Government employees which took place on 19th September 1968.

It was a strike which shook the government and the country. More than 30 lakhs of CG employees participated keeping the country to a standstill. The P and T workers with their strategical position in the Communication sector ensured that the entire machinery of the governments, both at central and states were paralysed.

It was a struggle for the dignity of labour, for the 15th ILC approved Need Based Minimum Wage, for full neutralisation in cost of living through Dearness Allowance and such other demands. The demands were well understood by the workers despite the false and anti- propaganda of the government.

The Indira Gandhi Government used the hated Essential Service Maintenance Ordinance(ESMO) and other anti-worker ordinances to suppress the struggle, instead of conceding the just demands of the workers. The workers did not flinch; they had the bitter experience of the 1960 strike which was treated as ‘Civil Rebellion’ and tried to be suppressed by then then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The workers had understood the policy of the government, which was only to support the rich and ignore the justified demands of the workers.

It is to the credit of the Communist Government in Kerala,  headed by Com.EMS Namboodiripad, who declared that his government will not use the ESMA against the striking government employees, despite the central government warned him that failure to implement ESMA may result in dismissal of his government.

Thousands of workers were arrested, jailed, terminated, suspended, dismissed and heavily victimised. NFPTE and other CGE unions were derecognised. For the first time after the formation of the united organisation, NFPTE in 1954, a fake union was floated, which later became FNPTO to serve the interests of the ruling political party.

I still remember the enthusiasm of the workers in preparing for the strike and participation despite threat of dismissal and victimisation. I was working at calicut at that time. Thousands of people and supporters of the strike had collected in front of the Telephone Exchange blocking the road for almost half a km. The strike was a big success. In Calicut alone, 44 temporary employees were terminated, 95 suspended in P and T and almost all the active workers charge-sheeted and punished. It was similar in other departments. I was out of service for about three years and was reinstated after transfer to another division. This was the case with many of the leaders and active workers and even ordinary members. 9 workers became martyrs after being shot dead.

Many years have passed since then. The workers are now getting DA automatically, whenever there is an increase in the cost of living. Strike victimisation has come down. Usually only dies-non is issued for participation in the strike, except in isolated cases. Recognition of the union is not withdrawn.

A similar situation of struggle is gathering storm. The Minimum Wage as per Dr. Akroyd formula which is around Rs.26,000 is not implemented. The VII CPC has recommended only Rs. 18,000. The struggle of the CG Employees will continue for justice. BSNL employees, who were part of the CG Employees earlier, always keeps close connection with the CG employees including very cordial relations of the unions/associations.

On this 51th anniversary of the historical strike, I pay homage to the martyrs of the 1968 September 19th Strike. The great leaders who led the strike, the workers who implemented the call – we remember all of them, some still in the movement, all of them retired and some already no more with us. I will always remember those comrades who were part of this great struggle and contributed for a better future for the working class. ( The history of the 1968 Strike is fully described in the book ” History of P and T Trade Union Movement” written by me and published by NFPE. Copies are available with NFPE Hqrs. Price: Rs.100)

Towards Struggle for a better world for the workers!

Comrade R.L.Bhattacharjee, former Dy SG, NFPE passed away.

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Com.R.L.Bhattacharjee, veteran P and T leader, Patron of NCCPA and former Dy. Secretary General passed away on 10th September 2019 at his residence at Kolkata. He was ailing for some time. His contribution in building up the movement in W.Bengal and Kolkata is well known. Last year, when I was in Kolkata, I visited him at his house and discussed about his illness, Pension issues etc. He was in Delhi many years as the Dy.SG of NFPE.

My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, friends and comrades.

Russian Communist Party gains seat in regional elections.

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Moscow : The Communist Party of Russian Federation (KPRF) has made significant gains in the regional elections held in Russia on September 8, meanwhile the United Russia party led by the incumbent president Vladimr Putin lost a significant share of votes in several regions.

In the Moscow City Duma, KPRF increased their seats from 5 to 13 while the ruling United Russia managed to get 25 seats, losing 13 seats compared to the previous elections. Earlier, in August, massive protests erupted in Moscow against irregularities and discrimination in the scrutiny of nominations for the Moscow Duma.

Perspective Communiste reported that even in the constituency where Putin himself used to vote, the candidate of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), Nikolai Gubenko, won with 58.29% of the votes.

In most of the regions, where elections were held– including Altai Republic, Mari El Republic, Volgograd Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, Bryansk Oblast, Tula Oblast, Sakhalin Oblast etc.– the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) won second place with better results compared to previous elections in 2014.  In the city of Sevastopol (Crimea), the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) got three seats in the council for the first time since the Crimea joined Russia.

Following the announcement of the election results, the President of the Central Committee of the KPRF, Gennadi Zyuganov, said in a press conference that the Communist Party has maintained its presence and strengthens its position in all of the local parliaments.