The meeting of all the unions / associations in BSNL held today to discuss about struggles to be organised against starting of Subsidiary Tower Company and demanding Wage Revision is in the correct step. United struggles are most important in achieving both these crucial demands.
Throughout the nation, BSNL employees, as per the call of BSNL unions and associations, organized mighty demonstrations in front of their offices/exchanges protesting against the decision of the government to form a separate Tower Company by hiving away the 64,000 towers of the BSNL. This is part of the government conspiracy to disable and weaken BSNL and prepare for disinvestment or strategic sale as recommended by NITI Ayog.
The union leaders demanded the government to stop the process of forming the separate Tower Company failing which further united struggles will be organised. They said that they will never allow the government to dismember BSNL.
The DOT and the central government have always been moving to share the infrastructure of BSNL for the benefit of the private telcos. Years back, DOT gave permission to private telecom companies to construct/install their towers on the BSNL buildings. It was defeated by the workers by blocking the private telecoms from entering the premises and strong protest from the unions.
Next, there was move to unbundle the valuable copper cable all over India and share it with the private operators. A complete strike was organised and the DOT was compelled to give a written assurance that there will be no unbundling and no disinvestment.
Now the government has decided to form the Tower company, which will cripple BSNL and its revenue. Further, once the company is formed, it will be independent and will take decisions which will be completely in the interest of the private companies. It will be just like the priority given to private airlines in the routes ignoring Air India, the PSU. BSNL will get the least benefit from the new Tower company, which will be at the behest of the private companies as per the direction of the government.
The story of the Arab and the Camel, where the former was completely kicked out of the tent by the latter, will be the result. The united force of the workers saved our copper cables and in the same way we should be able to save our towers.
The decision of all the unions/associations to meet on 15th and discuss the issue and plan the course of action is timely. The government move to form the Tower Company should defeated at the initial stage itself.
The telecom services under Department of Telecom was bifurcated in to three companies as part of the neo-liberal policies as the first step towards privatisation. The first company, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) is already privatised by handing over to Tata and is now Tata Telecommunications. The second is Mahanagar Telephones Nigam Limited (MTNL), which the government has made it loss making for years. More than 44% shares are also sold, staff is ridiculously reduced through VRS, and the government may move for privatisation at any time. The third company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is bifurcated in to another company BBNL earlier. Now the Cabinet has taken a decision to convert the tower assets of BSNL in to a separate company with the intention of sharing the tower assets with other telecom companies. Although the move has started in 2015, it could not be implemented due to the strong protest of the workers and their unions under the leadership of Forum. Now the Cabinet has taken decision today to form the separate Tower Company. This will be a great tragedy for BSNL with the revenue from the towers going to a different company. This is a tactic of the government to make BSNL further loss making to justify its strategical sale.
The time has come for bitter struggle to save BSNL and its workers. BSNL, which was having about 3.5 lakh workers at the time of formation has been reduced to almost one lakh and eighty thousand due to non-recruitment in vacant posts. Every month it is being reduced.
The central government is cleverly reducing BSNL to a position in which it will not be able to come back. But they are forgetting the workers and their unions, who have fought and defeated unbundling of the valuable copper cables, disinvestment, VRS also cancellation of mobile tenders etc. tried by the government and saved BSNL.
BSNLEU strongly condemns the decision of the Narendra Modi government to form a Subsidiary Tower Company.
The Union Cabinet meeting, presided over by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has decided today to form a Subsidiary Tower Company. It means, the nearly 70,000 mobile towers of BSNL will be taken away, and will be handed over to the Subsidiary Tower Company. BSNLEU strongly condemns this decision. This is nothing, but a strategy to slowly kill BSNL. It may be remembered that the entire Non-Executives and Executives went on a one day strike on 15.12.2016, opposing the formation of the Subsidiary Tower Company. Inspite of this stiff opposition, the Modi government has decided to form the Subsidiary Tower Company. BSNLEU calls upon the entire unions and associations of BSNL to come forward and oppose this move of the government.(Courtesy: bsnleu website)
Massive protest dharnas were organised throughout the country on 25th November 2016 as per the call of all unions/associations of non-executives and executives in BSNL against the move of the government to form a Subsidiary Tower Company bifurcating BSNL. In BSNL Corporate Office also, the dharna was participated by large numbers of comrades who have come from UP(W) and Haryana Circles as also from the corporate office and NTR. The workers were agitated and angry that the government and the BSNL Management is moving against the interest of BSNL and its workforce.
Why workers are opposing the Subsidiary Tower Company?
- There is no need for a separate tower company. BSNL has got more than 65,000 towers at present and they are working well and helping the improvement of services.
- Although government says that it will be a fully subsidiary company of BSNL, this is only temporary. Within no time, it will be separated and will be put under strategic sale as in the case of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited(VSNL). It will cease to be a BSNL Tower Company and will be a Adani Tower Company/Reliance Tower Company/Tata Tower Company or some other private Tower Company according to who takes it.
- Once it is a separate company, BSNL will have to pay charges of using the same to the Private company. This will be just like BSNL paying for undersea cable charges to private companies although BSNL paid funds for installing the same.
- The Reliance Jio which has not much towers so far badly need the same. A separate tower company will be the answer.
- Such a situation will be the decline of BSNL, which is on fast revival path.
- ‘Divide and Destroy’ is the strategy being adopted by the government.
But the government, private corporates and BSNL management have forgotten certain aspects:
- This is not the first time that the government and management have tried to ‘Divide and Destroy’ BSNL. First they decided to ‘unbundle’ the priceless copper cables of BSNL, which lies underground connecting the entire country. This conspiracy was defeated by the united strike decision of the BSNL employees and the Secretary DOT was compelled to give written assurance to the Joint Action Committee that the cables will not be unbundled.
- Government decided to retrench, in the name of VRS, first 50,000 employees, then 1,00,000 employees and lastly 70,000 employees. United agitation by BSNL workers ensured that these anti-worker actions are defeated.
- Government decided to disinvest BSNL thrice and offered 3% of shares to the employees. Through stiff resistance and strike, the workers ensured that government could not implement its decision.
- The government withdrew all assistance and financial support to BSNL, which were assured at the time of formation of BSNL, with the intention of making BSNL unviable to enable it to privatise the PSU. Due to consistent efforts by the unions/associations and workers, BSNL is brought in to operational profit, in which the management also had a great contribution. As such the ill-intention of the government was defeated.
- The government move to unbundle cables, Retrenchment/VRS, Disinvestment etc. could be defeated only because of the strong unity and firm determination of BSNL workers, both executives, non-executives, contract workers and even the retired employees. It is to be remembered that the one lakh strong contract workers went on strike every time there was a strike by the employees, though many of them were retrenched from work and victimised. Under the leadership of BSNL Casual and Contract Workers Federation, they stood with the employees, since they understood that their future depended upon the existence of BSNL. In the same way, the pensioners under the leadership of All India BSNL DOT Pensioners Association stood with the workers by participating in all programmes (other than strike). Their future is also connected with the existence of BSNL.
- While the policy of the government is ‘Divide and Destroy’, the counter policy of the workers has been ‘United Struggle’, ‘Better Service’ and ‘Revival of BSNL.’ The workers have won so far, although through much sacrifice and suffering.
- The massive dharnas have once again shown that BSNL workers are united and firm against the formation of ‘Subsidiary Tower Company’ and will fight to the last to defeat the attack on the ‘survival of BSNL.’
- If the government and management do not go back from this attack on BSNL, the 2 lakh BSNL workers and one lakh casual contract workers, with the support of almost 2 lakh DOT-BSNL pensioners will fight to the last and defeat the sinister game of the government.
- All the workers should be individually contacted, explained and made ready for the One Day Strike on 15th December 2016 for which notice has already been served by the unions/associations. It is not a strike ritual. It is a real strike in which each and every employee is convinced and ready to fight till the last.
“UNITY FOR STRUGGLE – STRUGGLE FOR UNITY – 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!
The core committee members of Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations Com.P.Abhimayu, Convenor, Com.Chandeswar Singh, President, Com.K.Sebastian, General Secretary, SNEA and Com.Prahlad Rai, General Secretary, AIBSNLEA met Shri.Rakesh Garg,Secretary,DoT today,7th October,2015. The leaders conveyed dissatisfaction to the inordinate delay in the settlement of 78.2% IDA merger to BSNL pensioners despite assurance in the discussion on 1st May, 2015. The Secretary,DoT assured the delegation to do the needful. The leaders also met Shri.N.Sivasailam, Addl Secretary also and discussed the issue.
As per the call of the Forum of BSNL Unions and Associations, countrywide dharnas were organised today, 16th September 2015, opposing formation of a Tower Company bifurcating BSNL and demanding that the decision be cancelled forthwith. In all the SSAs, the dharnas were organised successfully with massive participation. The agitators shouted slogans against the anti-worker, anti-PSU policies being implemented by the Government.
In Delhi, the dharna was organised in front of the Corporate office, participated by more than 500 workers. In addition to those in Corporate Office and NTR Circle, volunteers came from Haryana, UP(West) and Punjab in large numbers. Com. C.Singh, President, Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations presided. The dharna was inaugurated by Com.VAN Namboodiri, former Convener, Forum and Patron of BSNLEU. He spoke in detail about the anti-worker anti-PSU policies of the both the UPA and NDA governments and the necessity of fighting them. He stated that the proposal for Tower company will take away the revenue of BSNL, making it more unviable and demanded the government that the decision should be withdrawn. Comrades Swapan Chakroborty, Offg. General Secretary, BSNLEU, G.L.Jogi, Chairman, SNEA, KG Jayaraj, General Secretary, AIBDPA and leaders of all the unions/associations addressed. The dharna demanded the government to withdraw the anti-PSU decision of formation of Tower Company.
The Forum will meet, review the programme conducted and planfurther programme.
Hearty Congratulations to all the workers and leaders, who made the dharnas big success!
A detailed meeting was held by the CMD BSNL with the Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations on the issue of formation of a subsidiary Tower Company, to be carved out of BSNL. The Unions were told that it will be beneficial to the BSNL itself to form the tower company. The full details of the Cabinet decision are yet to be understood.
The Forum has decided to meet Secretary, DOT and find out the details and take a final decision about the programmes to be taken by the Forum.
In the same meeting with CMD,, it was informed that the refund of the Spectrum surrendered will be adjusted towards Licence fee to be paid by BSNL. This is not acceptable. What the government should do is to immediately pay the amount to BSNL to purchase equipment etc. and get the licence fee gradually, when the finance of the company improves. The best way is to waive the arrears of licence fee of BSNL, in the same way many dues and taxes of the private telecom companies were waived.
Through the formation of the Tower Company, the govt. wants to divert even the existing revenue of the BSNL and through the adjustment of refund of spectrum refund towards licence fee, it wants that BSNL to be deprived of any funds for its improvement.
Instead of weakening BSNL, its own company, the government should help it to spring back to its original glory.