All central trade unions in a show of unity have called an indefinite agitation from 19 April against the disinvestment of the public sector Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had announced disinvestment of 30 per cent shares in the PSU undertaking in line with the Sam Pitroda committee's recommendations.
The trade unions were called by the DoT secretary for talks this week over their opposition to the recommendations, but the talks proved infructuous as nothing could be decided at the meeting, according to G L Dhar, secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).
Meanwhile, the government, according to AITUC, has reiterated its decision to go ahead with disinvestment. It has also decided to accept other recommendations of the committee like a voluntary retirement scheme for 1,00,000 workers and division of the company, AITUC added. They say Pitroda is acting on behalf of private sector companies to the detriment of the interests of BSNL, Dhar says.
Similar views have been expressed by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
Trade unions in the country have come together on five issues, the disinvestment of profit-making public sector units being one. They will take up the issues which include price rise, job losses, creation of a fund for unorganised workers social security and prevention of loss of jobs in the name of recession through agitations over a year-long period.