State labour minister T P Ramakrishnan has written letter to the Centre seeking urgent intervention in ensuring timely disbursal of salaries to the BSNL employees. “Denying salary to employees citing crisis in the company is inhumane,” the minister said, in the letter sent to Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Union minister of state for labour and employment .
The BSNL employees and their families are now on the verge of starvation and they are not able to meet the expenses for education of their children, the minister said. “Several of them were forced to vacate their rented houses after failing to pay the rent,” he said.
The minister said the employees were being expelled once they attain the age of 56 years, and that too without settling their bonus, gratuity and other benefits along with pending salaries. “The permanent staff received their salary for the month of August on September 18, while those on contract have not been receiving their salaries since February 2019, according to complaints received by the state government,” Ramakrishnan said.
Besides, almost all the contract workers who were on strike since February have been terminated from service with effect from June 2019, the minister said.
As per the latest order, the BSNL’s decision is to cut 30% of its employees to achieve an equal percentage of reduction in expenditure. “It’s also been directed to restrict the number of working days to three days per week. All these factors are badly affecting the services of the BSNL,” the minister said.
The leaders of trade unions, which are on strike, are citing Central government’s ‘illegal and excessive financial support’ to some private telecom service providers as the major reason behind the crisis in BSNL, Ramakrishnan said. The crisis is deepening as the Centre is unwilling to provide any financial aid besides disallowing the company to take loans from banks, he said.
“The ministry should initiate immediate steps to disburse salary arrears to contract employees, to protect the rights of the employees and to stop the ongoing termination processes,” Ramakrishnan concluded.