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.