BSNL employees’ union calls for hunger strike on Friday

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on October 15, 2019 Published on October 14, 2019

SNEA has called for relay hunger fasts from November 4 to November 8 at BSNL corporate office

Strengthening their agitation further, the All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) has called for a one-day hunger strike on Friday to protest against non-payment of September salary and seeking timely payment of salary every month. The unions of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd will also hold lunch-hour demonstrations across all circles on the same day.

The unions are also seeking BSNL’s revival by immediate allocation of 4G spectrum, extension of financial assistance or soft loan and approval for the public sector unit’s land monetisation policy. Further, the payment of contract and casual workers wages, electricity bills and rentals are among other demands, sources close to the development told BusinessLine.

“The decision to go for a one-day hunger strike was taken after AUAB’s meeting today. Non-payment of contract and casual workers wages for the past 8 months, non-payment of electricity bills, misleading reports in media stating that BSNL would be closed down, among others were the agenda of the meeting,” said one of the sources, who is close to the development. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA), the BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU), the National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE), the All India Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd Executives’ Association (AIBSNLEA), the National Union of BSNL Workers and the SC/ST Employees Welfare Association of BSNL (SEWA BSNL), among others attended the meeting.

Employees’ unions such as the Sanchar Nigam Association of Telecom Technical Assistants (SNATTA), the BSNL Mazdoor Sangh (BSNLMS), the All India BSNL Executives’ Association (AIBSNLEA), the BSNL Officers Association (BSNLOA) and the Telecommunication Employees Progressive Union (TEPU) were also present.

AUAB convened another meeting on October 21 to decide the future course of action, they added.

FTTH equipment

Separately, BSNL has also authorised procurement of Fibre To The Home (FTTH) equipment, with the PSU slated to issue purchase orders within 15 days.

The PSU authorised the procurement of 3,200 optical line termination ports (OLTs) and 28,000 Optical Network Termination (ONTs) and splitters. BSNL’s FTTH service — Bharat Fiber — delivers high-speed broadband from 256 KBPS to 100 MBPS, apart from IPTV and a range of voice telephony services.

On October 1, BSNL’s unions and associations conducted a ‘lunch-hour demonstration’ on to protest against salary delay. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the other PSU, has also started on a series of ‘Lunch Hour Demonstrations’ in protest of wage delays.

As per company policy, salaries at BSNL are credited on the last working day of every month.

BSNL’s salary expenses come to about ₹750-850 crore, as the firm employs 1,63,902 personnel, of which 46,597 are executives and 1,17,305 non-executives.

AUAB has informed BSNL Chairman & Managing Director PK Purwar and Department of Telecommunications Secretary Anshu Prakash of the proposed hunger strike.

Separately, SNEA has called for relay hunger fasts from November 4 to November 8 at BSNL corporate office. The association will also resort to indefinite hunger fast from November 11 onwards without further notice, sources in SNEA said.

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Published on October 14, 2019
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