The employees of state-owned telecommunication company Mahanagar Telecom Limited (MTNL) took to the streets demanding that their salaries be paid. As per a PTI report, the employees have not been paid salaries for two months and they staged a protest building where the ministry of telecommunications is housed. There were at least 8,000 employees of the total 22,000. The company has a huge presence in Mumbai as well.
The employees were demanding that the government first announce the revision in their pay structure and release their pending salaries before the proposed voluntary retirement scheme is introduced. The employeesâ€™ union leaders claim the salaries are being delayed regularly since February and blame the government for deliberately doing it to demoralize them. The leaders claim they are yet to receive their salaries for June and July.
The leaders claimed they had a meeting with the Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Telecommunications and wanted a meeting to be setup with the Secretary with a view to discussing the plans the government has for MTNL. They say their agitation will continue till their demands are not met. Joining the current employees were some pensioners of MTNL
It is learnt that at least a monthâ€™s pay may be released by the DoT by the end of this week. The total wage bill will amount to Rs 160 crore.
MTNL has been posting continuous losses with the figures for 2017-18 and 2018-19 reading Rs 2,970.9 crore and Rs 3,388 crore respectively. The revenue, meanwhile, keeps falling.
As reported in these columns earlier, the government has come up with some kind of a revival plan for the two ailing companies MTNL and BSNL in the telecommunications sector. The plan is expected to involve an outlay of Rs 74,000 crore which will have a VRS scheme to bring down the staff strength in both the companies and investment in bringing in 4G service which will hopefully bring back some customers and arrest the slide and reduce the losses.