The Government is proposing to merge BSNL and MTNL. It had already formed a committee for the purpose of examining the issues connected with the merger. Months back, the government has stated that the merger will take place by June 2015, and before that a meeting with the unions will be held. It means that the government on their own will take the decision; after that a meeting will be held with the union to convey their decision. The workers and their unions do not agree to this.
The MTNL was formed in the 1980s bifurcating from the DOT. Nobody wanted the bifurcation. BSNL was formed in 2000 against the strong opposition of the workers. These two companies were formed to reduce the strength of government sector and to gradually privatise both. The method was to reduce the staff strength through VRS and also by disinvestment of shares, thus reducing the govt. share and hand over to private company as it has done in the case of Maruti Udyog Limited which became Suzuki and VSNL which became Tata Communications.
It is because of this, BSNL Employees under the Joint Forum/Joint Action Committee/Forum strongly opposed both VRS and Disinvestment and organised sustained struggles, including strike, which compelled the government not to impose both. Of course, still the recommendations are there to retrench 70,000 workers through VRS.
By merger of BSNL and MTNL, government is trying to kill both with one stroke, as they tried with Air India – Indian Airlines Merger.
In this connection, our demand is that before any discussion on merger of BSNL and MTNL, three conditions should be fulfilled. (1). The 46.5% shares disinvested by MTNL should be bought back (2) There are liabilities to the MTNL to the extent of Rs. 20,000 crore; this should be waived / paid by the government and (3) the HR issues including different pay scales should be settled.
These are only but very reasonable and also unavoidable conditions. Otherwise keep the merger proposal in abeyance. BSNL employees can not agree to any merger without fulfilling these conditions.