BSNLCCWF has called for a one day strike on 27th November 2014 by the casual and contract workers engaged in BSNL. What is the immediate provocation for a strike?
It is not at all an immediate provocation. The more than one lakh casual and contract workers in BSNL have been continuously requesting the BSNL Management from the corporate office level to the GM level to ensure that the casual contract workers are treated as human beings and whatever is eligible for them as per the labour laws, the government orders and orders endorsed by the BSNL Corporate Office should be implemented at the field level.
The BSNL Management at first refused even to discuss the issue of casual and contract labour with the union. After continued representation to the DOT, Minister, Chief Labour Commissioner and also Parliamentary Standing Committee on labour, the management has started discussion. BSNL C.O. also issued clear instructions on 5th November 2008 as also later on the implementation of the minimum wage, social security measures like EPF, ESI etc. But these are violated by the field officers and not implemented. This fact has been brought to the notice of the Corporate office with documents/proof, but the management sat silent blindly depending on the Compliance reports received from the CGMs. In fact, the top management is also very reluctant to take any action on the law-violating contractors or the concerned officers. Their mindset is that the casual contract workers are slaves and they should be satisfied with whatever pittance is given to them and if they protest they should be sent out of their job. This is a kind of mental illness, which it is difficult to cure. These officers/ contractors who are getting high salary/ big commissions are not concerned whether the minimum wage is paid or not to the toiling worker.
There are more than 4,000 casual labour including TSM, who are left out and not regularised, not because of lack of orders, but due to the complete neglect and delay of field management in forwarding their cases to the Corporate Office. About 9,000 such casual labour / TSM, who are much junior to them, have been regularised, because their cases were forwarded to C.O. On the plea of a Supreme Court order, these left out casual labour/TSM are denied regularisation, while such workers have been regularised as a one time measure by government departments such as Customs, Income tax etc, based on the orders of the DOP andT. Why BSNL, a fully owned government company, does not implement the same orders and regularise the left out casual labour/TSM? Again it is the same mentality which sees the workers as beggars and nothing more.
The casual and contract workers are very much concerned about the financial health of BSNL. The company is their bread and butter for which they have been working for 10 to twenty years and more. If BSNL collapses, their future is in peril. Naturally they are interested in the health of the company. They want that the government to change its anti-PSU policy and assist it to come up. The BSNL Management has also to do its duty efficiently.
These are the main issues on which the strike is called for. The Notice for strike will be issued shortly in which all the demands will be focused.
It is the immediate task to meet each and every worker, explain the demands and prepare him for the one day strike and future struggles. We have to ensure that the entire workers participate in the strike on 27 October.
Struggle for Unity, Unity for Struggle and Struggle and Unity for Progress!