The officers and workers of BSNL are going on a one day strike on 27.07.2017, demanding wage revision. The next round of wage revision has become due for the entire public sector employees from 01.01.2017. The government formed the 3rd Pay Revision Committee (3rd PRC), headed by justice Satish Chandra (retired) for this purpose. The Committee has already submitted it’s report and it was approved by the Union Cabinet on 19.07.2017. As per the “Affordability Clause” of the recommendations, only such of those Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) which have earned profit during the last 3 financial years are eligible to give wage revision to their employees.
Since the employees of BSNL are not eligible for wage revision as per the recommendations of the 3rd PRC, the unions and associations of BSNL have demanded exemption from the “Affordability Clause” of BSNL. They have made it clear to the government that, BSNL became a loss making entity not because of the employees but because of the anti-BSNL policies and measures adopted by the government. BSNL was not allowed to procure equipments for it’s mobile network expansion from 2006 to 2012. The tenders floated by BSNL to procure mobile equipments, were cancelled one after another by the government, to benefit the private telecom companies.
The cancellation of the tender floated by BSNL in 2007, to procure 45 million line mobile equipments and cancellation of the tender floated in 2010 to procure 93 million line mobile equipments were a severe blow for BSNL. As a result of this blockade created by the government in the procurement of equipments, BSNL was not able to take advantage of the exponential growth witnessed in the mobile segment, during this period.
The officers and employees went on struggles several times against the cancellation of these tenders, and demanding procurement of equipments. As a result of these struggles, BSNL Management started procurement of equipments from 2013 onwards, and network expansion is being made in right earnest. Thereafter, significant improvement has come in BSNL’s quality of services. The unions and associations of the officers and workers have also taken many pro-active steps to improve customer satisfaction and the revival of the Company. The unions and associations have conducted many movements such as “Customer Delight Year”, “Service With A Smile”, etc., to improve the performance of the employees, with a view to improve customer satisfaction and to achieve the financial revival of the Company.
As a result of all these efforts, a significant change has come in the financial position of the Company. For example, Company incurred Rs.691 crore operational loss in the year 2013-14, whereas it earned an operational profit of Rs.672 crore in 2014-15. This has increased to Rs.3,854crore in the year 2015-16. Even in the midst of cut-throat competition from Reliance Jio, BSNL is adding 20 lakh new mobile customers every month. BSNL is sure to become a profit making PSU within next 2 / 3 years.
The efforts and initiatives taken by the officers and workers of BSNL, and their unions and associations, have significantly contributed in taking BSNL in the revival path. Hence, BSNL should be given exemption from the “Affordability Clause” of the 3rd PRC report and BSNL employees should be given wage revision with 15% fitment. To insist upon this demand the officers and workers observed dharna on 20.06.2017 and hunger strike on 13.07.2017. Since, the government has not responded favourably, the officers and workers are going on one day strike on 27.07.2017. The unions and associations will be compelled to resort to more serious forms of struggles, if the government does not respond favourably to the demand of the employees.
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