People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 14

April 04, 2010

BSNL Workers to Strike, April 20


THE Joint Forum of BSNL Associations & Unions of Executives and Non-Executives has decided to organise a one-day strike on April 20, in protest against the proposals to retrench one lakh workers through the so-called voluntary retirement scheme, disinvest 30 per cent shares of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), to unbundle the valuable copper cables and to outsource certain jobs. The demands also include settlement of ITS officers� absorption, issuance of purchase order for 93 million GSM lines and revision of IDA pension to the BSNL retired employees.

Before that, on March 26, more than two lakh BSNL workers participated in the big dharnas organised in about 400 centres in various parts of the country. These included the Bharat Sanchar Bhawan i.e. the BSNL corporate office in New Delhi, at circle (state) headquarters and at SSA (district) headquarters.

Big dharnas with participation of thousands of employees took place at Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and numerous other places.

These dharnas were undertaken in preparation for the strike.

One notes that the Joint Forum strongly protested against the decision of the BSNL Board to implement the anti-BSNL decisions of the Sam Pitroda panel.

The Joint Forum had already approached the prime minister, communications minister, secretary of the department of telecommunications (DoT) and CMD of the BSNL to concede the justified demands of the workers and settle the issues.

It will be noted that, as the first step, more than three lakh executives and non-executive employees of the BSNL have already held lunch hour demonstrations on March 15, at the district and circle levels and at BSNL corporate office, on the abovementioned demands.

The demonstrations took place in response to the March 10 decision of the Joint Forum of BSNL Associations & Unions of Executives and Non-Executives. The envisaged agitation programmes included a strike on the above demands in case the management does not settle the issues. The forum said the government�s move to divest shares is in complete violation of the assurance the government had given that BSNL would not be disinvested.

The forum also decided to meet the prime minister to bring the above issues to his notice and seek his intervention to save the BSNL, a public sector enterprise.

The Joint Action Committee of the BSNL Association & Unions has already given notice for indefinite strike from April 20 on the above demands. (INN)