Editorial- February, 2014
Struggle and struggle alone is the only path to fight and defeat anarchy – demotion of basic cadre and prolonged neglect of resolution of other key issues is anarchy - let us not just look back.
For the last couple of years we were singularly and intensely engrossed in addressing key issues of revival of our beloved company more than the cadre issues since we have a deep rooted and well founded conviction that “we can grow only when the company grows”. At the same time, we have been relentlessly pursuing resolution of left over critical issues related to 2nd PRC on which DPE/Govt has taken decision like standard pay scales, 30% superannuation to BSNL recruits etc. Resolution of other equally important issues like uniformity in first time bound promotion, removal of pay anomalies, antedating of increment were also high on our agenda. Even after three years of intense persuasion, virtually none of the above issues was ever seriously considered by Management for resolution.
The last nail in the coffin was dug recently when the basic cadre of JTO was arbitrarily demoted from E1A to E1 scale and that too when the committee constituted two years back to examine introduction of standard pay scales did not even meet once to discuss the issue. This is anarchy and anarchy has to be exposed and defeated through struggle alone. What else is needed to trigger industrial unrest and if we don’t succeed in defeating this situation and correcting this aberration, in 2017 we will land in a situation where we will be completely left high and dry as far as we getting standard pay scales are concerned.
Unresolved issues related to TBP policy, non settlement of pay anomaly issues which has created intense heartburning amongst our members for obvious reasons has resulted in a situation where our comrades are facing recovery of lakhs of rupees at the time of their superannuation and reduction of their pension by one to two increments, are pending since 2007. The stagnation in JTO cadre has reached yet again alarming proportion of about 20 years to the one we witnessed in 1990s. JTOs of 1995 batch are waiting for their first promotion when more than 5000 SDE posts are lying vacant for years together. The situation as far as JAO to AO, SDE to DE and DE to DGM promotions in different streams is no different. Management takes shelter under Court cases to justify inordinate delay in issuing promotion orders and virtually does not take any concrete and timely action to defend provisions of RRs being legally challenged indiscriminately or takes no corrective action to avoid litigations.
Sinister moves of policy makers and vested interests to dismantle the company by formation of subsidiaries, merger of BSNL & MTNL without addressing critical issues like government owning up fully market liabilities of MTNL, disinvestment of about 45% equity of MTNL, and cadre issues, total inaction on the part of BSNL Management to formulate strategy to counter Reliance –Jio, pension contribution on actual basic instead of maximum of the pay scale are very important and strategic issues related to the viability and future of our company which need to be comprehensively and conclusively addressed.
All these developments have compelled the Association to go on to the streets. We pursed with utmost sincerity for years together to resolve the issues across the table but the response from the Management to say the least was disappointing, rather negative. Committees constituted by the competent authority to address the issues of standard pay scales did not even meet once, not even to receive inputs from the Associations to justify the demand of extending standard pay scales. If we are not alert and proactive, the standard pay scale issue may get reduced to a pay anomaly issue or pay parity issue as we are presently witnessing. Long term and comprehensive resolution is getting standard pay scales, not addressing the issue in a piecemeal manner like giving some increments here and there. That could be dangerous. Best scheme of time bound promotions that we have as of now may become a nightmare in the future. 30% superannuation might be restricted to a mere 2%, the DPCs may be delayed years together. Our beloved company will be destabilized, dismantled and eventually disinvested. Comrades, let us wake up, struggle unitedly, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our company, to protect our genuine career prospects.
The decision of NTEA to join hands with SNEA(I) and struggle together to address unresolved critical issues of career growth of executives like standard pay scales, CPSU cadre hierarchy and 30% superannuation benefits and also larger issues of the growth of the Company is a welcome and healthy move which will surely strengthen forces of unity and eventually contribute towards expeditious resolution of just and legitimate issues of career growth.
Yes comrades, we have started our struggle and it has to reach its logical conclusion, may be in stages. But one phase of struggle will lead to another and this will continue till we reach our destination. We have to be resolute and committed to the cause. This struggle will have to create history yet again in terms of the basic cadre of JTO having to regain its pristine glory. This struggle has to succeed to get our very justified demand of standard pay scales resolved, to put in place a mechanism of time bound functional promotion, to achieve our just demand of 30% superannuation benefits etc. This struggle will be very important in the context of addressing critical issues of career growth which have been neglected by callous and unconcerned BSNL Management. This struggle has to defeat the designs of vested interests that are hell bent upon to dismantle and disintegrate the Company. This struggle has to protect the Company from getting disinvested, This struggle has to defeat the moves of policy makers to impose huge market liability of MTNL on BSNL in the name of merger of MTNL and BSNL. Merger of two companies is ideal provided it is brought about in objective terms.
Meeting with Sri. V. Umashankar, Jt Secy/DOT on 05.03.2014: GS and President had a very detailed and meaningful discussion on following important issues.
A) Pension contribution by BSNL on actual basic instead of on maximum of scale: We apprised Jt Secy/DOT in detail about the discussions that we have had with Hon MOS, DOPT, Sh Narayanasamy, and the follow up extensive discussions we had with Jt Secy/DOP&PW and Jt Secy/DOPT on the issue of pension contribution by BSNL on actual basic in terms of the decision taken by the Union Cabinet at the time of formation of BSNL in year 2000 that pension and issues related to pension for BSNL absorbed employees would be strictly regulated in conformity with Central Govt. departments. In that context, BSNL is to pay pension on actual basic as all other Central Govt. departments are paying.
This stand of ours was adequately appreciated by Jt Secy/DOPT who advised us to ask DOT to move the case afresh for consideration by DOPT and DOE. Secy/DOT also assured us on 4th March that he would also reconsider examining the issue of pension contribution on actual basic by BSNL. In view of all these developments, we requested Jt Secy/DOT to initiate the note afresh for consideration of DOPT and DOE. Jt secy/DOT assured that within ten days he would initiate action on this issue and advised us to pursue the case thereafter with DOPT and DOE.
B) Issue of standard IDA pay scales of E2 and E3 for JTOs/SDES etc: We informed JtSecy/DOT about our discussions very recently with Jt Sec/DPE on the decision of BSNL management to introduce non standard IDA pay scales of E1 and E2 for JTOs/SDEs. We told Jt Secy/DOT that Jt Sec/DPE clearly told us that DPE would not rescind its decision of allowing non standard IDA scales in CPSUs. In this context, we requested Jt Secy/DOT to abandon the move of referring non standard pay scales of E1 and E2 to DPE for consideration and instead direct BSNL to consider extending standard scales of E2 and E3 as directed by DPE. However, Jt Secy/DOT mentioned that this issue is to be decided by BSNL management.
BSNL and MTNL: We
conveyed our serious and justified apprehensions on the issue of merger like
BSNL being burdened with huge market liability of about 13000 crores that MTNL
has, Governments stake in BSNL getting diluted because govt’s holding in MTNL
is already offloaded to the extent of 44% MTNL and very contentious and complex
HR issues. However, Jt Secy/DOT elaborately spelt out meticulous and structured
mechanism that Govt. is to adopt to address these legitimate concerns of BSNL
before taking a final call on the issue of merger.
Meeting with Secy/DOT on 4th March, 2014:
Com V.A.N. Namboodiri, convener Jt Forum, CHQ President and GS/SNEA(I) and GS/AIBSNLEA met Secy/DOT and apprised him of serious concern of BSNL employees on the issue of merger of BSNL and MTNL without comprehensively sorting out some critical and basic issues like Govt. taking complete responsibility of the liabilities of MTNL, disinvestment of existing 44% shares of MTNL not affecting the 100% stake that govt. holds in BSNL and addressing contentious HR issues. Secy/DOT assured that all our concerns would be adequately addressed and met and that we would be taken in full confidence before any decision is taken by Govt. on the issue of merger.
On the issue of formation of a subsidiary tower Company also we expressed our serious apprehensions since such a move would disintegrate BSNL eventually resulting in hiving off potential tower business of BSNL. Secy/DOT assured that this issue would also be discussed with us. On the issue of pension contribution by BSNL on maximum of scale instead on actual basic, Secy/DOT assured that he would once again reexamine the issue in the context of commitment made to BSNL employees at the time absorption in BSNL. The meeting lasted for about 45 minutes and was held in a very cordial and frank atmosphere.
Meeting with the nodal GMs on the issues raised in our notice dated 10.02.2014 and 25.02.2014: As per the letter dated 27.02.2014 from SR Cell, GS, President, Com Vivek Wankhade/ AGS and Com A A Khan, CS/BSNCO had a detailed discussion with BSNL management on the issues raised in the notice dated 10.02.2014 and 25.02.2014. Management side represented by GM(SR), GM(Pers), GM(Estt), GM(FP), GM(Rest) and DGM(SR).
Detailed discussion took place on the following demands:
1) Replace existing non standard pay scales by standard pay scales of E2, E3, E4 etc for JTO/JAOs, SDE/AOs and equivalent cadres up to SGJAG. No demotion of the basic cadres JTO/JAO, SDE/AO.
2) Implement Time Bound Functional promotion between 4 to 6 years as per the terms and conditions for absorption in BSNL analogous to CPSU cadre hierarchy with first Time Bound promotion uniformly after 4 years w.e.f 01.10.2000.
3) 30% superannuation benefit to BSNL recruited employees as per the agreement between the Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations and the BSNL Mgt on 12.06.2012.
4) Dismantling BSNL by constituting subsidiary tower Company:
5) Abject and unpardonable failure of BSNL Management in not responding to deadly emerging challenges that growth of Company faces, particularly its potential broadband business segment, from its competitors, particularly Reliance- Jio venture.
6) Pension contribution by BSNL on actual basic pay instead of on maximum
7) Discriminating BSNL in the context of not allowing it to trade and share spectrum
8) Promotion from JTO(T) to SDE(T) under 67% quota for the vacancy years 2009-10 onwards, JAO to AO promotions, holding of LDCE from JTO(T) to SDE(T) against 33% quota for the vacancy years 2010-11 onwards, SDE to DE promotions in all streams, DE to DGM promotions.
9) Settlement of long pending pay anomalies i) Pay protection during officiating promotion till the implementation of TBP ii) Antedating of increment iii) Senior drawing less pay than Junior after promotions.
10) Increase the number of Management Trainees (Intl) from the proposed 150 to a minimum of 300 and take expeditious action to complete the recruitment process.
The meeting lasted for more than two hours. During the meeting, Assn made the stand clear on all the issues to the Mgt side. Mgt side explained their stand on the issues as usual. The issues raised in the letter dated 25.02.2014 related to Govt will be referred to DoT for further actions. On the query why management is not implementing E2, E3, E4 etc pay scales when the financial implication is minimum and no financial implications for the Executives working as on 31.12.2006, Mgt had no convincing answer.
Comrades, Management is in no mood to implement the standard pay scales or settling the other issues in a time bound manner. Gear up for the full day Dharna on 06.03.2014 and relay hunger strike on 19th March onwards.
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Meeting with DIR(HR/EB) and DIR(CFA) by our UP(East) comrades: Com Ajai Trivedi, Circle Secretary, UP (East) and other Circle leaders and senior comrades met Shri. A.N. Rai DIR(HR/EB) and Shri N.K. Gupta DIR(CFA) BSNL Board, New Delhi during their visit to Lucknow on 21.02.2014 and submitted a memorandum on issues related to the growth of the company and also career growth.View Copy of the Memorandum
|Hyderabad Dist Conference 23Feb2014|
|AP XX Circle Conference at Ongole on 22 to 24 Jan 2014|
SSA Conference of Hyderabad Telecom Dist: The HTD Conference was held at Hyderabad on 23.02.2014 in a grand manner. More than 250 comrades attended the conference. Com K Sebastin/GS, Com Padmanabha Rao/Jt Sec(S), Veteran leader Com S L Reddy, Com A Viswanath, CS/AP Circle and Com J. Umamaheswara Rao, CP/AP Circle addressed the conference. PGMTD was the chief guest in the open session.
Important cadre issues of the Executives like standard pay scales, time bound functional promotion or CPSU cadre hierarchy, 30% superannuation benefit to BSNL recruits, abnormal delay in conducting DPCs, pay recovery/anomaly etc compelled the association to serve trade union notice. The conference resolved to make all out preparations for the massive participation in the agitation.
JTO to SDE promotion: Assessment report of about 660 JTOs are missing and the report has to reach BSNLCO latest by 21.02.2014. However most of the circles not responded so far. CSs of the remaining Circles should seriously pursue.