State-owned BSNL's employee unions are planning a nationwide agitation beginning next week against the decision of its board to accept the report of the Sam Pitroda-led panel, which has recommended a 30-per cent divestment and voluntary retirement to nearly one lakh staff.(See: BSNL must sell 30 per cent stake, slash staff: Pitroda panel)
The BSNL management on Wednesday, had given an in-principle approval to the Pitroda committee report, which was the third time that the telco's board had cleared the proposed stake sale. Earlier divestment proposals that called for a 10-per cent stake sale had been approved twice but could not go through due to stiff opposition from employee unions.
Earlier this year, prime minister Manmohan Singh, worried over the steep decline in the company's profitability over the years, called in Pitroda to head a committee with banker Deepak Parekh and telecom secretary PJ Thomas as members and suggest measures for revival.
The company' employee unions say that any plans for listing the company would amount to a violation of the government's earlier commitment to them that there would be no divestment in the PSU telecoms.
''As the first step three lakh executives and non-executives of BSNL will organise lunch-hour demonstrations on May 15 in all telecom circles. The joint forum has also decided to meet the prime minister to bring this issue to his notice and intervene to save BSNL,'' its unions said in a joint statement.
According to a top functionary in the ministry quoted by Business Standard, the report by Pitroda offered a long-term solution and did not address existing issues and the concerns that may arise while implementing the long-term plan.