Talks between state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and its labour unions have failed to resolve issues related to the company's proposed Voluntary Retirement Scheme and withdrawal of benefits like medical allowance and an employees' strike is now imminent on December 15.
"Talks were held between the Director (HR) and the Joint Action Committee... Management was not able to solve any of the issues for which notice has been given. Hence, there is no change in the decision to go on strike," the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Associations/Unions of BSNL Executives and Non-Executives said in a statement.
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"The strike will take place on December 15, 2011. All are requested to gear up the preparations for the strike," the statement said.
The JAC has been continuously pressuring the BSNL management to procure mobile lines and other equipment to enable the company to provide better service to the people.
It said BSNL's fortunes witnessed a decline after the management cancelled a tender for procurement of 4.5 crore mobile lines in 2007 and a 9.5 crore mobile lines tender in 2010, leaving the company with an acute shortage of mobile lines and equipment that resulted in an erosion in its market share and a loss of revenue.
The JAC alleged that while the employees are putting in extra working hours and meeting subscribers without any extra remuneration, the BSNL management has resorted to retrenching about 1 lakh workers (about 40 per cent of the existing 2.76 lakh workers), denying bonuses and withdrawing existing benefits for workers.
BSNL has already submitted the details of the proposed voluntary retirement scheme for employees that have completed the age of 45 years and have served on a regular basis for 15 years to the Telecom Ministry.
Earlier, the employees' unions of state-run BSNL had also asked the government to refund over Rs 8,300 crore paid by the PSU for acquiring non-standardised Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum.
Last year, BSNL paid over Rs 8,000 crore to the government like other service providers for acquisition of pan-India BWA spectrum, but was allotted non-standardised band BWA, it said.
The Department of Telecom is already examining the feasibility of merging government telecom companies ITI and MTNL with state-run BSNL, in line with the recommendations of the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE).
BSNL, offers telecom services in all areas of the country, barring Delhi and Mumbai. It is making efforts to catch up with its private counterparts.