BSNL employees to oppose VRS and listing

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Mumbai, Jun 5 (UNI) Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) employees, under the banner of 'Joint Forum of BSNL Associations', have decided to oppose the government's decision to divest 10 per cent of its shares and the introduction of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) that has been proposed by the management.

An announcement to this effect was made today by BSNL Employees Union's (Maharashtra Circle) general secretary Ganesh Mathpati at a press conference here.

He said the Telecommunication Ministry and the management had conducted a meeting on May 29 regarding VRS and listing, and subsequently many newspapers had carried the reports and the Union's agreement to these schemes.

''The press was fed with wrong news regarding the Union's agreement to the schemes, as we had opposed the same right from the beginning, which was later carried by the media,'' clarified Mr Mathpati.

Union leader Satyavan Udhe said no recruitment had taken place in BSNL since 1984, and more than 2.5 lakh employees have either retired or had expired in the last 24 years.

''The average age limit of the employees is 47 years and at this rate, there will not be employees in the next 12 years,'' said Mr Mathpati.

The Union members also alleged that the management wanted to close the company slowly.

The office-bearers of the BSNL Employees Union cited an example of the Central Telegraphic Office at Churchgate in south Mumbai and said the department as a whole had seen reduction in the number of employees bringing it on the verge of closure.

''The management wants to close down the telegraphic department and for this, they have reasoned the widespread use of mobile phones and internet,'' added Mr Mathpati.

Mr Udhe said the gradual closing down of the telegraphic and postal department was because of the large number of properties, which are more than a century old, that the management wanted to sell them to the highest bidders.

''The properties are scattered all over Mumbai, which the management wants to grab. Hence, they are on the path of closure of the department,'' he said.

The Union has written a letter to the Telecommunications Minister A A Raja and the department secretary, asking them to stop the VRS proposal and also the divestment process of the company. They have also given them a time frame for the same.

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