The wages notified for the unskilled workers in C class cities alone are considered while paying the wages. The higher wages for the semi-skilled, skilled, highly skilled as also for A and B class cities are not at all considered. This is the position in almost all the districts all over the country. In a circle itself, different wages are paid in SSAs according to the whims and fancies of the GM and the contractor.
There are about 3,500 casual labour all over the country who have been continuously engaged by the DoT/BSNL for the last 15 to 20 years or more. These casual labours were eligible for being regularized in the DoT/BSNL, but due to administrative delay, they were denied the same.
Now on the basis of a Supreme Court Judgment ( Umadvi Vs. State of Karnataka), they are all denied regularization, while on the basis of the same judgment, casual labours are regularized in income tax, customs, central Excise etc. as per Department of Personnel and Training (DOP&T) guide lines.
The BSNL's top management is washing its hands stating that the full wages are being paid and the social security measures that are being implemented are based on the false and wrong reports from the field offices. Wherever the workers demand the minimum wage etc., they are threatened and retrenched.
It is regrettable that such brutal exploitation and blatant violation of labour rules are happening in a PSU, which is under the direct control of the government.
I would request the telecom minister Mr. Kapil Sibal to order an inquiry in the matter and also ensure that the notified wages are paid to the contract workers, social security measures are implemented and the left-out casual labourers are regularised.
(About the Contributor: V.A.N. Namboodiri is President of the BSNL Employees Union, the recognised union in the telecom PSU. He is the President of BSNL Casual and Contract Workers Federation and also the convener of Joint Action Committee of BSNL Unions /Associations of Non-Executives and Executives)