Protesting against the Sam Pitroda committee's proposals on voluntary retirement and divestment proposals, the employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) began their threatened indefinite nation-wide strike today.
The convenor of the joint action committee of BSNL associations and unions V A N Namboodiri said the strike began at 6 am at all centres except Delhi, where it started at 10 am. The strike could affect calls to and from BSNL networks, he informed.
BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal said some 10,000 senior staff and senior Indian Telecom Service (ITS) cadre employees who are not part of the strike are working to make sure that the telecom services are not hit by the employees' strike.
The strike was called by a joint forum of unions that has both executives and non-executives. The employees are unhappy with recommendations of the Pitroda committee suggesting voluntary retirement for up to 1,00,000 staff as well as 30 per cent disinvestment to improve financial health of the PSU.
Executives and employees are also sore over the delay in absorption of about 1,500 ITS employees in the telecom PSU, even 10 years after BSNL's corporatisation. (See: BSNL employee unions plan strike against Pitroda report)
Telecommunications minister A Raja held talks with the union to avert the strike but failed in his attempt to persuade them to call off the strike.