Merger of BSNL and MTNL was considered as one of the ways and means for the financial revival of BSNL. However, the government has now come to the conclusion that, merger of BSNL and MTNL is not possible, because of the critical financial condition of MTNL. As per the Hindu dated 10.3.2021, the Hon’ble Minister of Communications is reported to have told this to the Parliament.
The landmark Central Executive Committee meeting of BSNLEU, was held at Chennai on 7th, 8th and 9th March, 2021. The meeting made in depth discussions about the current problems being faced by BSNL and it’s employees and has chalked out the following programme of action.
(i) “Meet the members” drive.
The circle and district level leaders of BSNLEU shall conduct a month long “Meet the members” drive, from 01st April to 30th April, 2021. The leaders shall meet each and every member during this drive and explain about the decisions of the Chennai CEC meeting and also about the pro-corporate, anti-BSNL and anti-working people policies of the government.
(ii) Street Corner Meetings to observe the 20th anniversary of BSNLEU’s foundation.
22.03.2021 is the 20th anniversary of BSNLEU’s foundation. The day should be observed by hoisting flags in all work places. Further, BSNLEU will also launch a week long "Street Corner Meetings" starting on 22.03.2021. In these street corner meetings, campaign will be made among the general public against privatisation of the public sector, denial of 4G service to BSNL, road-blocks being created in BSNL's revival and the need to keep BSNL as a vibrant public sector company. A Press Meet will also be organised on 20.03.2021 in all districts and circles.
(iii) March to CGM and GM offices on 12.05.2021.
March to CGM offices and GM offices will be organised on 12.05.2021, demanding settlement of 3rd Wage Revision, payment of salary on the due date, immediate holding of LICEs, re-engaging the retrenched contract workers and payment of their wage arrears, immediate settlement of the medical claims of the serving and retired employees, removal of the ban on Compassionate Ground Appointments, etc. Memorandum, addressed to the CMD BSNL, demanding settlement of these burning issues, will be submitted to the CGMs and GMs.
(iv) “Sathyagraha”, demanding payment of salary on the due date.
On the demand of payment of salary on the due date, the CEC meeting has decided to organise a “sathyagraha” programme in CGM and GM offices. The date of this programme will be decided by the All India Centre.
(v) Hunger strikes / dharnas from 24th to 26th March, 2021 – call of the CTUs and the SKM.
The Joint platform of the Central Trade Unions and the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) have decided to organise hunger strikes / dharnas throughout the country from 24th to 26th March, 2021, demanding withdrawal of the pro-corporate Farm Acts, withdrawal of the anti-worker Labour Codes and stopping the privatisation of the Public Sector Units. The CEC meeting has decided that maximum number of members of BSNLEU should participate in this programme, being jointly organised by the Central Trade Unions and the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha.
(vi) Solidarity to Bank employees strike.
BSNLEU should organise demonstrations throughout the country on 15.03.2021, in support of the two day bank employees strike being held on 15th & 16th March, 2021, against the privatisation of the public sector banks.
(vii) Solidarity to LIC employees strike.
BSNLEU should organise country wide demonstrations on 18.03.2021, in support of the strike of the LIC employees on 18.03.2021, opposing disinvestment in LIC.
(viii) Formation of coordination committee of BSNLEU, AIBDPA and BSNL CCWF.
The CEC meeting has desired to form coordination committees of BSNLEU, AIBDPA and BSNL CCWF (BSNL Casual Contract Workers Federation), to powerfully organise agitational programmes on the revival of BSNL, including the early launching of 4G service and also on the issues of the serving and retired employees, as well as on the casual and contract workers.
As a part of it’s Central Executive Committee meeting, being held at Chennai, BSNLEU organised the K.G.Bose’s Birth Centenary memorial lecture. Apart from the CEC members, a good number of comrades of Chennai and Tamil Nadu circles participated in this seminar. Com.Animesh Mitra, President, presided over the programme. Com.Sridhara Subramanian, CS, Chennai circle, delivered the welcome address. Com. S.Chellappa,AGS, conducted the programme. Com.P.Abhimanyu, GS, delivered a brief introductory speech and explained about the role played by Com.K.G. Bose in the P&T / Central Government Trade Union movements. Com.P. Indira, Convenor, BSNL WWCC, briefly spoke on the International Women’s Day. Com.K. Hemalatha, President, CITU, delivered a lecture on “the present situation and the future tasks''. In her speech, the CITU President, explained in detail about the pro-corporate economic policies, the cruel attacks on the country's public sector, the ongoing farmers’ protests and the need to strengthen the worker peasant unity.
The Central Executive Committee meeting of BSNLEU is being held physically at Chennai. The venue is Asha Nivas, Thousand Lights, Chennai. The meeting started sharply at 10:00 am with the flag hoisting ceremony. Com.S. Chellappa, AGS, welcomed the CEC members. Com.Animesh Mitra, President, hoisted the National Flag. Com.P.Abhimanyu, GS, hoisted the Union red flag amidst slogans. Thereafter, the Inaugural Session of the CEC meeting took place. Com.Animesh Mitra, President, presided over. Com.P.Abhimanyu, GS, welcomed all and made the initial remarks. Thereafter, Com.A.K. Padmanabhan, Vice President, CITU, delivered the inaugural address. In his inspiring speech, Com.AKP, explained about the present economic situation, the privatisation drive of the Modi government, the spirited farmers’ protests, as well as the call of the joint platform of the Central Trade Unions and the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, to fight against the anti-farmer acts, anti-worker labour codes and the privatisation of the public sector. Thereafter, the subject committee started. Homage was paid to the martyrs. Com.Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS, moved the condolence resolution and the house paid homage to the departed leaders. Com.Animesh Mitra, delivered the presidential address. Thereafter, Com.P.Abhimanyu, GS, addressed the meeting, presenting the report on activities. Thereafter, the discussion by CEC members started.
The Central Trade Unions have given call to observe the following calls.
(1) 15th March, 2021 - Anti-Privatisation, Anti-Corporatisation Day.
This programme is to be observed by way of holding joint demonstrations before the railway stations /establishments. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has also supported this call, calling on the farmers to join this programme.
(2) Three days Dharna/Relay Hunger Strike on 24-26 March 2021 at district/block/workplace levels through effective mobilisation.
Solidarity demonstrations with:-
a) Bank Employees two days’ strike action on 15-16 March 2021.
b) General Insurance Employees strike on 17th March 2021.
c) LIC employees/Officers strike on 18th March 2021
The demands and issues to be focused are:-
(1) Scrapping of Labour Codes.
(2) Repeal of Farm Laws and Electricity Bill 2020.
(3) Stop Privatisation and Corporatization.
(4) Food and Income Support to all non-income tax-paying households and other demands.
BSNL Working Women’s Coordination Committee (BSNL WWCC) organised an online seminar on 04.03.2021, to mark the International Women’s Day. 135 comrades participated in this online seminar. Com. P. Indira, Convenor, BSNL WWCC, presided over this programme.Com. Baghyalakshmi, Joint Convenor, BSNL WWCC, welcomed everyone. Com.P.Abhimanyu, GS, delivered a brief inaugural address. Com.A.R. Sindhu, National Secretary, CITU, delivered an inspiring speech on International Women’s Day. Com.Amita Naik, delivered the vote of thanks. BSNLEU congratulates the BSNL WWCC for taking the initiative to organise this programme.
The Supreme Court has ruled that, expressing views which are dissent and different from government opinion cannot be termed as seditious. Article 370, granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped in August, 2019. Farooq Abdullah, MP, as well as former Chief Minister of J&K, opposed this. Two persons, Rajat Sharma and Neh Srivastava, filed a petition in the Supreme Court, stating that Farooq Abdullah should be disqualified as an MP. The petitioners have stated that, Farooq Abdullah is anti-national, since he had opposed the removal of Article 370. Hearing this petition, the Supreme Court has stated that, expressing views that are different from government opinion, cannot be termed as “sedition”. Further, the Supreme Court imposed a fine of Rs.50,000/- on the petitioners.
[ Courtesy : NDTV. Com dt. 03-03-2021]
BSNLEU has written letters to the CMD BSNL on15-09-2020 and 12-11-2020, strongly opposing the increase in the rental rates of the staff quarters, implemented by the Management. BSNLEU has also demanded in these letters that, the BSNL retirees, both under VRS and on superannuation, should be allowed to continue in the staff quarters, in view of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic situation. Now, the BSNL Management has written letter to the General Secretary, BSNLEU, on 03-03-2021, wherein replies are given to the issues raised by the General Secretary, BSNLEU.
As has already been informed earlier, the BSNL Working Women's Coordination Committee [BSNL WWCC] is organising a seminar tomorrow the 04-03-2021, in connection with the International Women’s Day. Com.A.R.Sindhu, National Secretary of CITU will address this Seminar. She will address both in English and Hindi. The Seminar will start at 19:00 hrs. Circle Secretaries are requested to mobilise maximum number of comrades in this seminar.
The CEC meeting of BSNLEU is being held at Chennai on 07th, 08th & 09th March, 2021. As has already been informed, the venue of the meeting is Asha Nivas Social Service Centre, No. 9, Rutland Gate, 5th Street, Thousand Lights, Near Apollo children's hospital, Chennai – 600 006. The meeting will start sharply at 10:00 am on 07.03.2021 and will be over at 17:00 hrs. on 09.03.2021. All the CEC members are requested to immediately inform the reception committee of their time of arrival. The mobile numbers and email IDs of the Reception Committee comrades are given below.
(1) Com.S. Chellappa, AGS
Mobile No: 09444031715
E-mail ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
(2) Com.A Baburadhakrishnan, Circle Secretary, Tamil Nadu.
Mobile No: 09443408787
E-mail ID: email@example.com
(3) Com.M. Sridhara Subramanian, Circle Secretary, Chennai.
Mobile No: 9444028285
E-mail ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Women’s Day falls on 08th March. As per the decision of it’s CEC meeting, BSNLEU is observing this day every year. The BSNL Working Women’s Coordination Committee is organising an online seminar on 04th March, 2021. This is because, the CEC meeting of BSNLEU will be in session on 08th March, 2021. Apart from this, the CHQ calls upon all the district unions of BSNLEU, to observe the International Women’s Day on 08th March, 2021, in a befitting manner. Special meetings, lectures, etc., may be organised. Photos with reports should be sent to the CHQ.
It is reported by the media that, the government is conducting auction today, to sell 4G spectrum, to the tune of Rs.3.92 lakh crores. The Cabinet has taken decision for this auctioning in December last year. It is reported that, Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea badly need additional 4G spectrum for boosting their network capacities. Since the government is auctioning 4G spectrum, it appears the auctioning of 5G spectrum will take some more time.
BSNL has already called for EoI (Expression of Interest) from Indian companies, for procuring 4G equipments. Under these circumstances, media has reported that, the BSNL Management is looking into new options for procuring 4G equipments. Quoting the Financial Express, the ET Telecom has reported today that, procuring 4G equipments through the process already initiated by the BSNL Management, may be difficult. This is because, the government has laid down the condition that, the core equipments of the 4G network should be the manufacturing of an Indian company. It may be difficult for BSNL Management to procure 4G equipments through this route. Hence, BSNL looking into other options, including floating a new tender for procuring equipments, as well as for upgrading it's equipments.
BSNLEU is deeply saddened to know that, Com.M.Krishnan, former Secretary General of NFPE, as well as former Secretary General of the Confederation of Central Government Employees, has passed away at Thiruvananthapuram. He had been affected with COVID-19 and the best efforts taken to save his life, did not succeed. Com.Krishnan had been a great friend and well wisher of BSNLEU. He was soft-spoken, cordial and friendly to all the comrades. At the same time, he was deeply committed to the working class ideology. His death is an irreparable loss to the working class movement. BSNLEU dips it's banner and pays it’s respectful homage to the departed leader.
Com.Prakash Sharma, Assistant General Secretary of BSNLEU, as well as the Circle Secretary of Madhya Pradesh, retired from service today, after completing a long innings of unblemished service in the DoT and in BSNL. Since his last working day falls on Sunday, Com.Prakash Sharma, retired today. A well organised programme is held at Indore today, to felicitate Com.Prakash Sharma. CHQ heartily congratulates Com.Prakash Sharma and wishes him a long healthy and active retired life.
The Supreme Court has ruled that, payment of salary and pension are the right of the government employees and the government which has delayed the payment of salary and pension should pay interest at an appropriate rate. The Hon’ble Andhra Pradesh High Court had given a judgement stating that, 12% interest per annum should be paid for the delayed pension. An appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on this matter. Hearing case, justices Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah, ruled that salaries constitute the rightful entitlement of the employees and are payable in accordance with law. Likewise, payment of pension is also a rightful entitlement. However, the Supreme Court reduced the rate of interest from 12% to 6%.
Com.P.Abhimanyu, GS, had a detailed discussion with Shri P.K. Purwar, CMD BSNL today, on certain important issues. The meeting lasted for one hour and twenty minutes. Details of the issues discussed are given blow: -
The General Secretary pointed out that, of late, the BSNL Corporate Office is issuing instruction after instruction to the CGMs, for taking steps to stop even peaceful protest actions like, hunger strike, dharna, etc. He also complained to the CMD BSNL that, it appears that, the Management is adopting a “Divide and Rule Policy” for breaking the unity of the unions and associations in BSNL. The CMD BSNL replied that, the Management is not adopting any such policy. As regards, the complaint on instructions issued against hunger strike, dharna, etc., the CMD BSNL assured that the matter would be looked into.
The General Secretary strongly disapproved the stoppage of the Wage Negotiations of the Non-Executives. He pointed out that the Joint Wage Negotiation Committee was formed as per the direction issued by the DoT. He also stated that the stoppage of Wage Negotiations amounts to violation of the direction given by the DoT. He strongly demanded that the Wage Negotiations should resume immediately. The CMD BSNL assured to look into it.
The General Secretary expressed his deep concern over the non-holding of various LICEs especially the JTO LICE. He also pointed out that non-holding of LICEs for the Non-Executives and implementing promotions for the Executives, is tantamount to discrimination. The CMD BSNL replied that it will take at least 4 more months to complete the process of restructuring (ascertaining the number of posts). In that case, the General Secretary demanded that the process for holding the JTO LICE should be started immediately. The CMD BSNL agreed to this.
The General Secretary pointed out that the outsourcing of works through the SLA system is a total failure and it is draining the company’s money. He demanded a thorough review of the system. The CMD BSNL admitted that there are certain short comings in the system, but asserted that the same could be overcome.
The General Secretary expressed his disapproval for the large scale retrenchment of the contract workers, and that too after the retirement of 80,000 employees under the VRS. He demanded that the Management should not make any more retrenchment of the contract workers and should immediately make payment of their wage arrears. The CMD BSNL assured that the matter would be looked into.