BSNL Corporate Office initiated action in August, 2017, to outsource BSNL’s Customer Service Centres. This was strongly opposed by BSNLEU. Based on this, one round of discussion was held between BSNLEU and the Management, represented by Shri N.K. Mehta, Director (EB) and Shri A.K. Jain, CGM NC NGN. In continuation of that, a meeting was held between the two Recognised Unions and the Management today. Com. P. Abhimanyu, GS and Com. Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS, represented BSNLEU. Management Side was represented by Shri A.K. Jain, CGM NC NGN. In his presentation, the CGM NC NGN told that there was an urgent necessity to upgrade BSNL’s 3,000 CSCs, through outsourcing, in view of the fact that only 5% of BSNL’s products are sold through the CSCs. The Staff Side as a whole, opposed the Management’s proposal to outsource the CSCs. At the same time, the representatives of BSNLEU pointed out that, the Management has so far not provided inputs related to the number of staff presently deployed in the CSCs and their age profile, as has been agreed in the last meeting. They also told that further discussion could be held only on the basis of these inputs. Management Side agreed to provide the information at the earliest. Finally, it was agreed that next round of discussion would be held on 26.03.2018.
Com. P. Abhimanyu, GS and Com. Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS, met Shri A.M. Gupta, GM(SR), yesterday, and handed over the Union’s letters regarding the non-implementation of the Corporate Office letters on deduction of enhanced monthly Union subscription, as well as remittance of CHQ quota. The representatives expressed their serious concern that still some of the circle administrations are not implementing the Corporate Office letters on the above mentioned subjects. The GM (SR) assured that the Corporate Office would take care of those issues. The representatives also insisted that the SR Branch should immediately finalise the date for the 36th meeting of the National Council. The GM (SR) assured that the date of the NC meeting would be finalised soon after the Director (HR)’s return from abroad.
Com.P.Abhimanyu,GS and Com.Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS met Shri Anupam Shrivastava, CMD BSNL today and discussed the following issues.
A) Hearty thanks to BSNL Board of Directors for their positive role in Wage Revision issue.
The representatives heartily thanked the CMD BSNL and other Members of the BSNL Board, for playing a very positive role in the Wage Revision issue, as a result of which the All Unions and Associations of BSNL was able to successfully clinch the issue with the Hon'ble Minister, in the meeting held on 24-02-2018.
B) Strong opposition to curtailment of Medical facilities of serving and retired employees.
The representatives handed over the letter of the Union, opposing curtailment of medical facilities of the serving and retired employees. They told the CMD BSNL that, the employees are agitated over the decision of the Management to reduce the ceiling from 25 days to 12 days ( ceiling for outdoor treatment), as well as the decision to withdraw the facility of "payment without voucher" for retired employees, in cities covered by CGHS scheme. The representatives briefly pointed out how substantial savings could be made, by reducing wasteful expenditure, and demanded to convene an all union/association meeting, to take concrete decisions on reducing wasteful expenditure. The CMD BSNL assured to look into the issue.
C) Opposition to taking over of BSNL's office space by TERM CELL.
The representatives requested the CMD BSNL to stop the handing over of BSNL's office space to TERM CELL at Jammu, so that the CGM office, Jammu, could be shifted to that place, from the rented place in which it is functioning presently. The CMD BSNL assured to do the needful.
Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, has said that the decision to tax Vodafone Group retrospectively, taken by the UPA 2 government, was not correct. He has also stated that the present government will not follow that policy. Jaitley said this, while talking to a packed house at the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2018, on 24-02-2018. It may be recollected that the UPA government raised a tax demand of Rs.11,000 crore on Vodafone, in connection with it’s acquisition of Hutchison Telecom. The UPA government took the stand that the Hutchison-Vodafone deal was liable for tax deduction at source (TDS) under the Income Tax (IT) Act. But, Vodafone had not deducted the tax at source, and hence, the government directed Vodafone to pay the tax. Together with interest and penalties, this amount has increased to Rs.20,000 crore. The Supreme Court subsequently quashed the demand on January 20, 2012. However, the government amended its IT Act retrospectively, putting the liability back on Vodafone Group. Tax cheating is being done by the corporates in a big way. Vodafone and Hutchison jointly cheated Indian government to the tune of Rs.11,000 crores. Now, Arun Jaitley has openly stated that the decision of the UPA government to collect the amount from Vodafone is not correct. When the Modi government is taking action to collect every single paisa tax from the common man, they want to be very ‘kind and sympathetic’ to the tax - cheating corporates.
Recently, the TRAI has laid down new norms regarding Predatory Pricing. It has given the definition as to who is a Significant Market Player (SMP). According to these norms, only an operator having 30% or more market share, or revenue, will be considered as an SMP. As per the new norms, Reliance Jio is not an SMP, since it's market share is only 13-14%. Hence, Reliance Jio can never be held guilty for Predatory Pricing. It may be recollected that Reliance Jio was providing services at zero or near-zero tariffs, since September, 2016. Older operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have already criticised that the TRAI's new norms are laid down, only to help Reliance Jio. Now, Rahul Khullar, who was the TRAI Chairman from 2012 to 2015, has also stated that the new norms are designed only to help Reliance Jio. He has stated that the new rules are one sided and not fare. According to Khullar, the norms for Predatory Pricing should be laid down only by the Competition Commission of India, and not by the TRAI.
BSNL plans to roll out 4G services across India by the end of this year, with an investment of about Rs.25,000 crore. Shri Anupam Shrivastava, CMD BSNL has told the PTI that BSNL is awaiting spectrum allocation from the government in 2100 MHz band to launch 4G VOLTE service. By the end of this year, BSNL will roll out 4G services across country where it operates. BSNL has awarded telecom network contract to Nokia Networks in 10 circles and to ZTE for the rest of 10 circles where it operates. The CMD BSNL further stated that the value of spectrum that the government will allocate is around Rs.12,000 crore, in which the government, as per proposal, will bear the cost of Rs.9,000 crore. Total cost of spectrum will come around Rs.19,000 crore. Balance will be paid by BSNL in 10 annual instalment, he has stated.
Holi is the festival of colours. Many colours come together and form a beautiful rainbow. Similarly, people of various regions, religions and languages come together to make this beautiful country called India. Maintaining and strengthening the unity of the people is the need of the hour. On this occasion of Holi festival, let us resolve to strengthen the unity and of the people. BSNLEU wishes all a very Happy and Colourful Holi.
Due to the tariff war unleashed by Reliance Jio, the smaller telecom companies are struggling for their survival. Bigger companies like Vodafone and Idea are merging together, whereas, smaller companies are left with no other option, but to close down their business. Aircel, which is having a debt of Rs.15,500 crore loan has applied for bankruptcy, to the National Company Law Tribunal, under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016. As a result of this, Aircel's 5,000 employees are going to be thrown out of job. This is a tragedy. At the same time, this is a slap on the face of those who keep arguing that private companies are very efficient in their management and the government companies are inefficient. Even under the present adverse condition, BSNL's performance is far better than most of the private telecom companies.
Vodafone Group CEO, Vittorio Colao, has stated that the Company has lost 80% of it's Indian business, due to the tariff war unleashed by a new operator (read Reliance Jio). Colao has stated that doing telecom business in India is like "fighting the competition with hands tied at the back". The Vodafone Chief has also severely criticised the role being played by the TRAI in regulating the competition in the telecom sector.
[Source : PTI dated 27-02-2018]
In the wake of leading private telecom companies like Airtel, Idea and Vodafone, complaining against the predatory pricing by Reliance Jio, the TRAI has issued definition for predatory pricing. This definition is given by making an amendment to the "Telecommunication Tariff order".
According to this, a tariff will be considered predatory, if in a “relevant market”, a telecom operator with over 30 per cent market share, offers services at a price which is below the average “variable cost”, with a view to reduce competition or eliminate the competitors in the “relevant market”, as per an amendment made by TRAI in the Telecommunication Tariff order.
Under the new rules, TRAI will impose financial disincentive of up to Rs 50 lakh per circle on operators if their service rates are found to be predatory in nature.
(Source : PTI dated 27-02-2018)
A delegation of All Unions and Associations of BSNL, met Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications at Sangli on 23.02.2018 and submitted the memorandum on burning issues of the employees and that of BSNL. The Hon’ble Minister told the delegation that the issues are being actively looked into by his Ministry and that positive decisions would be taken. BSNLEU heartily congratulates the All Unions and Associations of BSNL of Maharashtra circle and Sangli district.
The International Women’s Day falls on 08th March, 2018. The CHQ calls upon the circle and district unions to observe the Day, by organising special meetings on that day. These meetings should be utilised to create awareness for fighting against the atrocities and crimes being committed against women and also to put an end the gender discrimination. The circle unions are requested to take the initiative in this regard. Reports and photos on the observation of International Women’s Day may be sent to the CHQ.
In the meeting held between the Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications and the All Unions and Associations of BSNL on 24.02.2018, break through has been made in almost all the issues, except in the matter of Subsidiary Tower Company. On this issue, the Hon’ble Minister was non-committal. This may be because, decision has been taken at the highest level of the government, to form the Subsidiary Tower Company. In the review meeting of AUAB, held immediately after the meeting with the Hon’ble MoS(C), this matter has been reviewed. In that meeting, it has been unanimously decided to continue with our efforts to get the formation of the Subsidiary Tower Company rolled back.
Some of our comrades have drawn our attention to a veiled criticism, that has been made about the handling of the pension revision issue, by All Unions and Associations of BSNL, in the meeting held with the Hon’ble MoS(C) on 24.02.2018. All knows that the AUAB is fighting not only for the 1.85 lakh serving employees, but also for the 2 lakh BSNL retired employees. It was only through the two day strike conducted by the unions and associations of BSNL on 21st & 22nd April, 2015, that the 60% ceiling imposed by the government, on it’s limit to pay pension to BSNL retirees, was broken.
As regards revision of pension from 01.01.2017, DoT’s stand is that, pension revision would be done, only if wage revision is completed. This was conveyed in DoT’s letter no.24-1/2018/SR dated 21.02.2018 also. (On the eve of the meeting with the Hon’ble MoS(C), this letter was withdrawn). It is nothing but total denial of pension revision. However, due to the mighty struggles of the AUAB, the Hon’ble MoS(C) has now conceded the demand for pension revision.
Perhaps, this settlement has disturbed some, whose only contribution to the pensioners is, giving ‘lip-service’ and making ‘time-pass’, by criticising others. Settlement of pension revision w.e.f. 01.01.2017 is the immediate goal of AUAB. At the same time, the AUAB will also find a permanent solution to the pension revision issue, as it has solved the 60% ceiling issue. Hence, the ‘arm-chair critics’ need not get disturbed, and can take rest.
A meeting is held at the Sanchar Bhawan today the 24.02.2018, between Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications and the All Unions and Associations of BSNL. Together with the Minister, Secretary, DoT, Special Secretary, DoT, Joint Secretary (Admn.), DoT, OSD to the Hon’ble Minister, DDG (Estt.), DoT, CMD BSNL and Director (HR) BSNL were present. From the All Unions and Associations of BSNL, Com. P. Abhimanyu, GS, Com. Chandeswar Singh, GS, NFTE, Com. K. Sebastin, GS, SNEA, Com. Prahlad Rai, GS, AIBSNLEA, Com. K. Jayaprakash, GS, FNTO, Com. N.D. Ram, GS, SEWA BSNL, Com. Ravi Shil Verma, GS, AIGETOA, Com. Mallikarjuna, President, BSNL MS and Com. S.D. Sharma, GS, BSNL ATM, participated in the discussions. The representatives of the AUAB heartily thanked the Hon’ble Minister for taking out time to meet them. Detailed discussions took place on the memorandum submitted to the Hon’ble Minister, the details of which are as follows:-
The March to Sanchar Bhawan, conducted today, by the All Unions and Associations of BSNL, became a tremendous success. Thousands of Non-Executives and Executives came from the nooks and corners of the country, and conducted a colourful March to Sanchar Bhawan. The March started from the BSNL Office at Eastern Court, went through Janpath, Tolstoy Marg and Parliament Street. It is estimated that more than 5,000 comrades participated in today’s March, which culminated near the Parliament Street police station. A meeting was held there, and leaders of All Unions and Associations of BSNL addressed the huge gathering. Com. P. Abhimanyu, GS, BSNLEU, Com. Chandeswar Singh, GS, NFTE, Com. K. Sebastin, GS, SNEA, Com. Prahlad Rai, GS, AIBSNLEA, Com. K. Jayprakash, GS, FNTO, Com. N.D. Ram, GS, SEWA BSNL, Com. Ravi Shil Verma, GS, AIGETOA, Com. Mallikarjuna, President, BSNL MS and Com. S.D. Sharma, GS, BSNL ATM, addressed the meeting. It was also addressed by veteran leaders Com. V.A.N. Namboodiri and Com. G.L. Jogi. The leaders called on the employees to intensify the struggles, including the Work According to Rule, if the issues are not settled. BSNLEU heartily congratulates all those circle and district unions which took efforts to make the programme a grand success.
The thousands of BSNL employees who participated in the March to Sanchar Bhawan, were stopped near the Parliament Street Police Station. Barricades were placed by the police across the Parliament Street, to stop the participants. When comrades attempted to cross the barricades, the police pushed back our comrades. There where pushes and pulls from both sides, for some time. Finally, the leaders intervened. They negotiated with the police, who agreed to arrange a meeting between the Secretary, DoT, and the leaders of All Unions and Associations of BSNL. Thus, the situation was brought under control and untoward incidents were avoided.
At the end of today’s March to Sanchar Bhawan, a meeting took place between the Secretary, DoT and the leaders of All Unions and Associations of BSNL. From the AUAB, Com. P. Abhimanyu, GS, BSNLEU, Com. Chandeswar Singh, GS, NFTE, Com. K. Sebastin, GS, SNEA, Com. Prahlad Rai, GS, AIBSNLEA, Com. K. Jayprakash, GS, FNTO, Com. N.D. Ram, GS, SEWA BSNL, Com. Mallikarjuna, President, BSNL MS and Com. Ravi Shil Verma, GS, AIGETOA, participated. From the DoT side, Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, DoT, Shri Shivasailam, Special Secretary, DoT, Shri Amit Yadav, Joint Secretary, DoT and Shri Pawan Gupta, Director (PSU) participated. Detailed discussion took place on the issues of 3rd Pay Revision, Subsidiary Tower Company, pension revision and reduction of the retirement age. The leaders effectively argued and demanded settlement of the issues. After detailed discussion, it is decided that further discussion would take place in the meeting to be held tomorrow between the leaders of AUAB and Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble MoS(C) tomorrow.
The All Unions and Associations of BSNL was taking continuous efforts to meet the Shri Manoj Sinha, Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications, to ensure a negotiated settlement of the demands raised in the ongoing struggle. Shri Anupam Shrivastava, CMD BSNL, also took efforts for the holding of this meeting. Finally, the meeting between the leaders of AUAB and the Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications has been arranged, and the meeting is taking place at 12:30 hrs. tomorrow. This meeting will be utilised to effectively put across the demands of the AUAB to the Hon’ble Minister.