People's Democracy

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


No. 45

November 06, 2011

AIBDPA to Join Parliament March


THE All India BSNL-DOT Pensioners Association (AIBDPA) has asked upon all its units to actively participate in the countrywide Jail Bharo agitation on November 8, which has been called for by the national convention of eleven central trade unions held at New Delhi on September 7, 2011. The call has since been endorsed by all the unions and federations of employees in the central and state government offices and undertakings as well as public sector units (PSUs) including banks, insurance, telecom etc.


The demands put forward are of paramount importance --- like effective action to control the spiralling price rise, stop to disinvestment of PSUs, implementation of labour laws, stop to attacks against trade union rights, ensured social security to the workers in the unorganised sector, ensured pension to all, revision of gratuity rules, minimum wages for the contract labourers, abolition of the limit on payment of bonus etc. The balance sheet of the neo-liberal policies, being implemented for the last two decades, is that the life of the common people and workers has become most miserable while the corporates and rich are allowed to flourish by cornering a major portion of the gains of uneven economic growth of the country. Corruption scams, black money and illegal exploitation of natural resources by the corporates have become the order of the day. Therefore, the Jail Bharo agitation, being conducted in this backdrop, involving all sections of the workers in central and state government departnments and undertakings, public sector, private sector, cooperative sector, service sector, manufacturing sector, organised sector and unorganised sector units is definitely going to be a signifcant milestone in the history of struggles in our country.


The AIBDPA has further directed its units to extend all support and help for successful conduct of nationwide strike on November 15, 2011 by the Joint Action Committee of unions and associations --- of executives as well as non-executives --- in the telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The strike has been necessitated by the refusal of the BSNL management and central government to desist from the calculated move to eliminate the BSNL for the sake of benefiting the private telecom companies. The central government has successfully subverted the two innovative development schemes of the BSNL and now the management has come out with a proposal to retrench one lakh workers in the name of ‘voluntary’ retirement schemes (VRS) and has unilaterally stopped medical allowance and leave travel concession to the employees. No bonus is paid to the employees for the last two years. The Access Deficit Charges, being paid to the BSNL by private telecom companies for the use of BSNL equipments, has been stopped and the central government has taken rather forcibly from the BSNL an amount of Rs 7,500 crore in the name of a notional loan. While the private telecom companies escape with payment of nominal licence fee for spectrum, the BSNL is compelled to pay the maximum. The nefarious game of the central government to finish the BSNL is quite evident from the above facts and therefore the employees have no other option but to resist.


The AIBDPA has also decided to launch a campaign week from November 6 onward, followed by a mass dharna on November 17 at district level, to press for an early settlement of the pension anomaly in case of those who retired within ten months of the formation of BSNL. It has also demanded withdrawal of the PFRDA bill, protection of the BSNL, grant of medical allowance a Rs 1200 per month to the DOT pensioners, restoration of medical allowance to the BSNL pensioners, grant of Rs 15,000 towards funeral expenditure, grant of Rs 5000 as festival allowance etc. It has asked all its units to organise the above programmes with massive participation of pensioners.


Yet another decision of the AIBDPA is that its members will participate in the Parliament March on November 25, 2011, in order to protest against the PFRDA bill.