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BSNL staff to hold demonstrations on July 16 against delay in revival, 4G roll-out

Claiming that the state-of-affairs at state-run BSNL is dismal, the AUAB has decided to hold lunch-hour black-flag demonstrations pan-India on July 16

Claiming that the state-of-affairs at state-run BSNL is dismal, the AUAB has decided to hold lunch-hour black-flag demonstrations pan-India on July 16.
  • While asserting that the rolling out of BSNL’s 4G service is a must for its revival, the AUAB said that the cancellation of the 4G tender has brought BSNL back to square one

  • It is the right of the employees to get salary on the last working day of the month. However, this is not happening in BSNL for more than one year now, said AUAB in a statement

New Delhi: Claiming that the state-of-affairs at state-run BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) is dismal, in terms of payment of monthly salaries to regular and contractual staff, the cancellation of the 4G tender, and the implementation of the much-needed revival package, all the employee associations and unions at BSNL have decided to organise lunch-hour black-flag demonstrations throughout the country on July 16. The demonstrations will be organised under the banner of the AUAB (All Unions and Associations of BSNL), an official statement released on Tuesday by the AUAB said.

“This agitational programme is being organised to express the deep anguish and resentment of the employees against cancellation of BSNL’s 4G tender, cancellation of BSNL’s proposal for upgradation of its 49,300 BTSs to 4G, abnormal delay in issuing Add on Order for 4G equipments, inordinate delay in the implementation of BSNL’s Revival Package and against the non-settlement of the burning problems of the employees,” the statement said.

BSNL employees waiting for June salaries, contractual staff not paid for a year

Contending that employees are still waiting to get their salaries for the month of June, the employees have claimed that their salaries have been delayed for several consecutive months before June. “It is nearly 9 months now, since the Revival Package of BSNL was announced by the Government, with much pomp and show. Still, BSL employees are not getting payment of their salary on the due date. This is the condition, even after the retrenchment of 79,000 employees under VRS, which has cut down the wage bill of the Company by more than 50 percent,” said the statement.

“It is the right of the employees to get salary on the last working day of the month. However, this is not happening in BSNL for more than one year now. It is very unfortunate that, payment of salary to its employees has become the last priority of the BSNL Management. For instance, BSNL earned a revenue of Rs.1,400 crore in May 2020, whereas, only Rs 420 crore is required for the payment of salary. Still, salary was not paid on the due date. Similarly, the salary for the month of June 2020 is not paid till date. Further, the BSNL Management is committing the crime of not paying wages to the contract workers for more than one year now, as a result of which 12 contract workers have committed suicide so far,” the letter said.

The employees also claimed that at a time when COVID-19 is spreading fast, the employees are not getting cashless-treatment from empanelled hospitals. 

4G tender: BSNL back to square one, says AUAB

While asserting that the rolling out of BSNL’s 4G service is a must for its revival, the AUAB said that the recent cancellation of the Rs 9,300-crore 4G tender floated by BSNL has brought the company back to square one on this matter. “BSNL already has 49,300 BTSs (Base Transceivers), which are 4G compatible. Through minor upgradation, all these BTSs can be converted into 4G BTSs with a small investment of about Rs 1,500 crore. In addition to this, BSNL could have added another 15,000 BTSs, by placing add-on order to the existing mobile tender. Thus, 64,300 4G BTSs could have been pressed into service by the BSNL Management, within 2 to 3 months of allotment of 4G spectrum in October 2019,” the statement said.

What are the unions demanding?

In its charter of demands, the AUAB has asked the government to take necessary action to roll out 4G services immediately and implement the revival package immediately. In addition, the body has urged the BSNL management to take measures for improving the quality of service, ensure timely payment of salaries to regular and contractual employees and ensure that employees get cashless treatment from empanelled hospitals for COVID-19. 

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