Sathyagraha

Satyagraha Soul Force Movement
Everyone knows that Satyagraha is a form of struggle with the non cooperation and
civil disobedience piloted by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa and experimented
intensely in India to achieve freedom by making our people to move in lakhs. This
kind of struggle makes one so courageous to undergo any sort of self suffering to get
justifiable returns. The idea is to bring the truth out and in our case the truth is that
the loss of BSNL is not because of two lakh dedicated workers. The loss is because of
Government policies, hyper competition at the cost of public assets and
mismanagement. The legacy of workforce is not the fault of the employees. They are
willing and cooperating to do any job assigned in the changed telecom scenario even
without any proper training.
The Unions and Associations after some discussion amongst us have given
the call of Satyagraha and march to Sanchar Bhawan (DOT) for the settlement of
demands like wage revision, rolling back the decision of separate tower company
and stopping the idea of VRS and reduction of retirement age to 58.
The settlement of wage revision with 15 % fitment from Jan 2017 denotes a lot
of things. Though BSNL is clarifying that the management has sent its
recommendations for the Executives to DOT, we do not know the basis and grounds
of that recommendations. As per the present DPE guidelines the BSNL Board is not
empowered to act on that and we do not know whether DOT endorsed those DPE
guidelines to BSNL to work on that. Even if any recommendation from BSNL, DOT
is not empowered to issue any Presidential Directive to BSNL to go ahead ignoring
the Cabinet Decision and the relevant DPE guidelines. DOT thro cabinet note should
seek exemption for BSNL on two clauses one for average PBT for wage revision and
the other for linking the expenditure with the PBT clause for 15 % fitment.
In the case of Non-Executives also the settlement of wage revision with 15 %
fitment means a lot of procedures. BSNL should form Bilateral Wage Negotiating
Council or should permit the existing Wage committee of Officers to start
negotiation with the recognized unions. It was told that the BSNL sought
endorsement for the same from DOT. After negotiations with unions an agreement
should be signed with New Pay Scales with 15 % fitment benefit and the same
should be sent to DOT for Presidential Directive. Unfortunately for any incipient
sick company the wage revision is linked with the approved revival plan by the
concerned ministry, in our case the DOT. We do not know about any revival plan for
BSNL or its status whether approved or not, though the management and DOT both
are saying about revival plan since BRPSE desire to have one such plan and Deloitte
consultant recommendations on revival.Government initiatives on the formation of Tower Company have raised
many apprehensions about the future of Public Tower Assets of BSNL. Appointing
CMD with IAS status sends us worrying signals that the new subsidiary company
will act independently with its new board by passing the powers of BSNL Board. It
seems that with IAS as head, it will not be under direct control of parent company
and look to orders of the parent company though it is owned fully by BSNL. Both
DOT and BSNL are not transparent in discharging proper information and bothering
to conduct healthy negotiations with the service unions and associations. This kind
of unhealthy industrial relations provokes us a lot.
In the case of MTNL the question of VRS/ Reduction of retirement age was
much debated matter at DOT level and even statements were laid about the same.
But in the case of BSNL, it is not clear whether the idea of reduction of retirement
age to 58 is part of any revival plan or a separate initiative. But both BSNL and DOT
are not having power to do the same unless cabinet sanction is obtained.
Everything is now at the level of cabinet. The cluster of confusion can be
cleared only when there is continuous dialogue with BSNL and DOT level. NFTE-
BSNL is always for the united actions of workers, the surest way to bring the
desirable results. But at the same time workers will not appreciate united actions for
nothing in the long run. Bringing BSNL and DOT to the negotiating table becomes
the foremost task of the unions. Negotiations and struggle for Negotiation and
settlement are the tested ways of our movement.
Let us observe the call with all dedication by organizing the workers in
various corners and make it every success to bring the DOT and BSNL to terms.