Telecom
Employees say that though there were delays previously, the management told them that it would be disbursed at a later date, but this time there is no clarity.

Even as there are reports that the government is readying a new revival plan for BSNL, employees of the state-run telecom company have not received their salary for the month of August, 2019. This is the third time this year that the company has delayed salaries of employees.

“It is regrettable to note that the Management is not even able to tell the employees, as to when this salary disbursement will take place,” P Abhimanyu, general secretary of the BSNL Employee Union said.

“It is the firm view of BSNLEU (BSNL Employees Union) that, the non-disbursement of salary on time, is a clear cut attempt by the DoT and the BSNL Management, to create panic and frustration in the minds of the BSNL employees, with the view to compel them to go on VRS, which is being contemplated to be introduced shortly by the government and the BSNL Management,” Abhinamyu said in a media statement.

The employee union called for a protest across the country on Tuesday over delayed salaries, demanding immediate disbursement.

Paripurnachari, district secretary for the employee union in Telangana said that protests were held across the state as well. Telangana has 8500 BSNL employees, while 6500 participated in the protest.

Paripurnachari says that previously when there were salary delays, the management told them that it would be disbursed at a later date, but this time no such clarity has been given, leaving employees even more worried.

According to the BSNL Employee Union, the telecom company’s debt is much lesser compared to private telecom companies and that the liquidity crunch at BSNL is due to revenue collection, a fall out of predatory pricing by Jio.

“BSNL revenue collections have dipped from Rs.32,000 crores to Rs. 18,000 crores due to the above-mentioned reason. The government has not taken any meaningful action to curb the predatory pricing,” they claim.

BSNLEU, as well as the All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) have already demanded that the government should extend soft loan to BSNL, to meet the Company's short term and long-term financial requirements.

And it isn’t only the employee, several contractual workers too have not been paid for months. According to K Mohanan, state president for the Kerala division of the BSNL Casual & Contract Workers Federation, they havent been paid for the past six months.

“Contract workers have been protesting for the past 78 days for payment of wages, pending from February. We are demanding that wages of contractual workers who have completed work should be payed. And apart from that, they are also retrenching contractual workers by 30% without fulfilling the legal requirements. Over 2000 workers have lost their jobs so far,” he adds.

BSNL currently employs 1,65,179 people. And its total employees' cost is 75% of the company’s total income.

BSNL is reported to be registering a loss of nearly Rs 14,000 crore its revenue declining to Rs 19,308 crore during 2018-19. 

According to a Business Standard report, the government is working on a fresh bailout package for the company after the Prime Minister's Office rejected a merger plan with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL). 

Also read: 1.2 lakh employees in the lurch as BSNL sinks in debt: Where is the bailout?