The second wave of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. More than 1.5 lakh people are getting affected by this disease every day. Under these circumstances, the DoT has issued letter, laying down preventive measures to safeguard the employees. BSNLEU has written to the Director (HR), BSNL, demanding that the preventive measures prescribed by the DoT, should be implemented in BSNL also. Some of the preventive measures prescribed by the DoT are that, officials below the rank of under Secretary, should be allowed to work from home and their physical attendance in office should be restricted to 50% of the actual strength. Also, the officials residing in containment zones shall be exempted from attending office.
After order was issued by the Hon’ble Kerala High Court, on payment of IDA to the Non-Executives of BSNL, the BSNL Management has written to the Secretary, DoT, seeking approval for the implementation of the order of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court. Prior to this, the DPE also, vide it’s letter no. DPE letter no.W-05/0004/2021-DPE(WC) dated 09th March, 2021, has referred the order of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court, to the DoT, with the direction to take appropriate action, since the DoT is the Administrative Ministry for BSNL. However, the DoT has so far not taken any action on this. In view of this, BSNLEU has written to the Secretary, DoT, demanding to give necessary approval for BSNL for the implementation of the order of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court.
On behalf of the employees, General Secretary, BSNLEU, has written to the CMD BSNL, expressing thanks for the disbursement of March, 2021, salary. Further, the General Secretary, BSNLEU, has requested the CMD BSNL, to ensure disbursement of the salary for the current month also, i.e., April, 2021, on time, so that the employees will be saved from the agony being caused every month, due to the belated disbursement of salary.
The entire BSNL Executives and Non-Executives have went on several strikes, organised Marches to Sanchar Bhawan, Marches to Raj Bawans and other campaigns, opposing the Subsidiary Tower Company. The BSNL Management and the government had kept the functioning of the Tower Company (BSNL Tower Company Limited - BTCL) at a low profile for some time. However, of late, the Management has stepped-up the functioning of the BTCL. At the same time, the government has announced that it will be raising Rs.40,000 crore, by way of monetising the towers and fibre of BSNL / MTNL. Hence, the government intends to induct a strategic partner into the BTCL. Under these circumstances, BSNLEU has written to the CMD BSNL, demanding to stop operationalising the BTCL.
BSNLEU is continuously pressurising the BSNL Management, to pay salary to the employees on the last date of every month. Despite BSNLEU’s organising several agitational programmes, the Management continues to pay salary belatedly. Non-availability of funds is the reason being cited by the Management. However, the revenue collections of the Company has exceeded Rs.3,000/- crores in March, 2021. Hence, BSNLEU has written to the CMD BSNL, urging upon him to immediately pay the salary for the month of March, 2021 and thereby break the chain of belated payment of salary to the employees.
COVID-19 is spreading very fast in Maharashtra circle. 57,000 new cases are reported in one single day, i.e., on 04.04.2021. Many employees, including top officers, have tested positive for COVID-19 in this circle. Under these circumstances, BSNLEU has written to the Director (HR), requesting to grant immediate permission, to implement guidelines issued by the Maharashtra State Government, for the containment of COVID-19.
As per the instructions of the Corporate Office, medical claims of the employees are to be settled at the Business Area level, after the consolidation of BA takes place. On many occasions, the medical bills get held up in the office and the employee concerned has to personally go to the section. This happens frequently. If the medical bills are to be settled only at the BA level, then the employee has to travel hundreds of kilometres to get his medical claim settled. This will create unnecessary harassment to the employees. BSNLEU has written to the CMD BSNL, demanding that, the medical claims should continue to be settled at the SSA level, even after the consolidation of the Business Area.
The DR JEs posted in the Leh SSA of J&K circle, suffer extreme hardship due to the sub-zero temperature prevailing in most parts of the year. In view of this, BSNLEU has already raised the demand before the Director (HR) that, the DR JEs who have completed two years of service and who have applied for transfer to other SSAs of J&K circle should get the transfer. In continuation of this, BSNLEU has written a letter to the Director (HR) today, insisting for settlement of this issue.
The BSNL Management is in the process of implementing E-Office. However, in this process the Non-Executive cadres like JAO, SOA, AOS and OS are being sidelined. Their jobs are limited to “scanning the documents, rearranging the files”, etc. This clearly indicates that the aforementioned Non-Executive cadres are being converted into Group Ds. BSNLEU has written to the CMD BSNL, expressing it’s disagreement and demanding to take necessary remedial steps.
BSNLEU is continuously demanding payment of salary on the due date. So far Management has not disbursed salary of February, 2021. BSNLEU has written to the CMD BSNL, demanding immediate payment of the salary with 6% simple interest. The demand for payment of interest is raised, based on the recent judgement of Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the Civil Appeal No.399, of 2021 (The State of Andhra Pradesh and Another Vs. Mrs. Dinavahi Lakshmi Kameswari). In this case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has directed payment of the deferred salary with 6% simple interest.
Responding to the proposal of the Recruitment Branch of the BSNL Corporate Office, to hold the LICEs of the Non-Executives online, BSNLEU has written a firm reply. In the letter addressed to the Director (HR), BSNLEU has reasoned that, Non-Executive cadres like TT and ATT do not have access to computer in their day to day works. Hence, they are not familiar to computer operations. Thus, holding the LICEs of the Non-Executives online, will create much hardship to the Non-Executives, stated BSNLEU in the letter.
Based on the writ petition filed by BSNLEU, the Hon’ble Kerala High Court has given direction to the DPE on 17.02.2021, directing it to pay IDA to the Non-Executives of BSNL. However, the DPE has written a letter to the DoT on 09.03.2021, directing it to take necessary action. The DPE has mentioned in it’s letter that it issues order, in respect of payment of IDA only for the Executives and Non-Unionised Supervisors of the CPSEs and not in respect of the Non-Executives. Hence, the DPE has directed the Secretary, DoT, to take necessary action on this matter, since BSNL comes under the administrative control of the DoT. In view of this, BSNLEU has written letter to Shri Anshu Prakash, Secretary, DoT, today, requesting him to issue necessary direction to the BSNL Management for the payment of 5.5% IDA w.e.f. 01.10.2020 and 6.1% IDA w.e.f. 01.01.2021 to the Non-Executives of BSNL.
The Hon’ble Kerala High Court has directed that the IDA instalment (5.5%), that has become due from 01.10.2020, should be paid to the Non-Executives. This judgement is delivered, on the writ petition filed by BSNLEU. After the judgement was delivered by the Hon’ble Kerala High Court, General Secretary, BSNLEU, wrote to the Secretary, DPE, and requested him to implement the court decision by issuing order for payment of the IDA. The Secretary, DPE, has forwarded the General Secretary’s letter to the Secretary, Telecom, and has directed him to take the necessary action.
Front Line Workers such as doctors, nurses, health workers, police personnel, etc., have already received COVID-19 vaccination on priority basis. From March 01st onwards, citizens above the age of 60 years, as well as citizens above the age of 45 years and who are having co-morbidities, are being vaccinated. BSNL employees are having close interaction with the general public and are highly susceptible to COVID-19 infection. Further, BSNL is also providing telecommunications services, which is declared as an essential service by the government. Hence, BSNLEU has written to Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Minister of Communications, requesting him to take steps to get the BSNL employees declared as "Front Line Workers" for getting COVID-19 vaccination on priority basis.
As known to all, in the writ petition filed by BSNLEU, the Hon’ble Kerala High Court has issued an interim order on 17.02.2021, directing the Secretary, DPE, to issue order for the payment of IDA to the Non-Executives of BSNL. Based on this, BSNLEU has written to the Secretary, DPE, enclosing copy of the order of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court and demanding to immediately issue order for the payment of the two instalments of IDA (5.5% + 6.1%).