Employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd – the country's largest provider of landline phone services – will go on a nationwide strike on Thursday, after talks between BSNL's management and unions on Monday failed to make headway.
Over 2.75 lakh executives and non-executives of state-run BSNL will join the one-day strike. Customer care centres which accept payment of bills and provide sales and recharge services will also join the day-long strike.
''Talks were held between the management and employees' unions on Monday, but it failed to solve any of the issues for which notice was given,'' V AN. Namboodiri, convenor of the joint action committee (JAC) of associations/unions of BSNL executives and non-executives, said in Chennai today.
The strike seems to have been largely triggered by the move of the department of telecommunications (DoT) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to reduce the number of employees eligible for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS). They are also protesting against the immediate repatriation of Indian Telegraph Service workers who have not opted for VRS.
''While other mobile markets in India are recording highest growth globally over the last five years, the delays in calling for tenders to place significant orders for BSNL equipment have made us weak and made way for other private players to push us down,'' another action committee member said.
The government wants to cut the BSNL employees' strength of around 3 lakh to 2 lakh. The telecom operator wants to offer VRS to employees who have completed 45 years and served on a regular basis for 15 years.