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BSNL workers, management cobble up agreement

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Union calls off plan to go on strike

Employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd have agreed not to go on strike after the company's management assured of immediate action to meet their demands.

The workers' union had threatened to go on an indefinite strike from Tuesday onwards.

However, BSNL management agreed to their primary demand of payment of 78.2 per cent industrial dearness allowance (IDA) fitment. This was cleared by the Cabinet, but not implemented by BSNL management till now.

In a meeting with the Union leaders, BSNL's management has agreed to implement the IDA norm with prospective effect with an assurance that arrears will be cleared when the financial health of the company improves. Other demands raised by the employees union will also be taken up by the telecom company.

Breather for subscribers

The decision to call of the strike comes as breather to over 100 million BSNL subscribers who may have had to experience disrupted services had the workers gone on strike.

The BSNL union had raised a number of issues and had alleged that the management was denying fair pay for its employees without any justification.

“The matter was discussed several times with the CMD, BSNL, but no positive action has been taken by the management causing irreparable loss to the employees in salary, allowances and pension,” Mr V.A.N. Namboodiri, Convener, Forum of all BSNL Unions/Associations, had said earlier. According to Mr Namboodiri, the various allowances for BSNL employees have not been revised since Fifth Pay Commission in 1996.

allowances

“It was assured that this will be reviewed after 5 years. Five years are over but no revision. In addition, BSNL has even curtailed the medical allowance, LTC and encashment of salary,” he said. The workers are peeved that top level officers belonging to the Indian Telecom Service (ITS) cadre are given increased transport allowance and other 14 allowances.

“While the transport allowance to top ITS officers are increased to Rs 10,000 or more, the lowest level employees are getting only Rs 300. Discrimination is increasing,” the BSNL Forum said.

The union said that BSNL management has issued orders granting many allowances and benefits incurring expenditure of hundreds of crores of rupees to the ITS officers, who are not absorbed in BSNL, but is continuing on deputation for the last 12 years since formation of BSNL.”

“The management, which consists of the ITS officers on deputation, is availing all benefits and allowances to themselves, while denying similar benefits to the workers,” a statement from the BSNL's employees forum stated

tkt@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 13, 2012)
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