The finer details of Meeting with CMD BSNL on MTNL merger issues – Only half of the truth has been presented on the web update of Sister Association Website :

We are in receipt of many queries from Members and Executives after an incomplete update has been given on the website of our sister association. We didn’t updated anything on the website earlier as it was decided that all the forum members will give a single draft to management and accordingly we have updated only the suggestions and inputs part by forum of BSNL associations. As regard to the comment of Hon’ble CMD BSNL is concerned, we eager to see the white paper as per his statement on the issue of pending financial benefits of BSNL Recruits. We also want to see, how management proves their sentence of ensuring at par benefits for BSNL Recruits vis-à-vis the other group of executives in this organisation.

The complete details of the AIGETOA submission in the meeting and management response is as stated below:

We have taken around 15 minutes time for our submissions.

First 2-3 minutes were on presentation with respect to growth of BSNL and the future good picture of BSNL as presented by management. AIGETOA Congratulated management and BSNL Board with a comment that going by the facts presented with respect to the development aspects of BSNL, definitely management deserves an applause for the same. AIGETOA also gave their suggestions with respect to the improvement in network.

Next, 4-5 minutes were with respect to questions on presentation of MTNL BSNL Merger. Representative of AIGETOA stated that keeping every point aside, management has missed to mention the financial and profitability aspects of this merger. AIGETOA representative said how much BSNL is going to earn and how much BSNL is going to spend on taking over and running the MTNL operations, same should have also been detailed in the presentation before seeking a comments from association. The profitability aspect of this merger must be kept in mind and indemnity against such losses must be ensured by the government before moving ahead with this merger.  

Next 6-7 mins, AIGETOA started with Congratulations to CMD BSNL on salary regularisation and stated that it’s good that now people have stopped asking when salary will be deposited in account. It is also good that there is a growth in revenue and BSNL has consistently been EBIDTA positive. The comfortable level vis-à-vis the revenue as well as expenditure is also visible. It is also good that CMD BSNL has praised the role of employees. It is further good that government has extended two revival packages for BSNL. But despite all these, it’s high time to deliberate on what has been extended to those employees who are left in BSNL and those who have been carrying the load of the organisation and executing the initiatives in BSNL Favour in the toughest times of organisation, sometimes, even spending the money from their own pockets.

Representative of AIGETOA further stated that definitely, the first priority of everyone is BSNL and its wellbeing. All the employees are fully committed towards the responsibilities assigned to them. It was further stated by AIGETOA that all the executives working in BSNL have similar responsibilities towards their families also and it’s high time that management should start investing in HR also by considering it as resource and should calculate the return on this investment after one year.  All have joined BSNL with aspirations of their pay, pension, promotions and social security of their families. Every employer is duty bound to extend the genuine dues to its employees. AIGETOA Raised the issue of pay scales, pay loss and 30 percent SAB issues and reminded management that these are the residual issues of 2nd PRC which have not been implemented yet and now BSNL should start implementing these residual issues of 2nd PRC. We also said that PRMB is guideline by DPE and its good that BSNL has extended CGHS for absorbed officers, similar guidelines of DPE with respect to creation of post-retirement medical benefit fund (a defined contribution scheme) has not been implemented yet in BSNL. AIGETOA also said that pension of DoT absorbed executives should be revised and similarly the DPE guidelines w.r.t BSNL recruits must be implemented in totality. 

CMD BSNL intervened thereafter with his reply on AIGETOA points. He first clarified on benefits of taking over operations of MTNL and stated that with this merger, BSNL will have a Pan India presence as it will be difficult for BSNL to create an entirely new network in areas of Delhi and Mumbai. On this AIGETOA has submitted that at least 10 year cushion against losses should be borne by government, if merger is at all to take place and government should indemnify BSNL against all such losses for at least next 10 years.

On the benefits pertaining to BSNL Recruits, definitely CMD BSNL approach was negative with a comment that BSNL is spending at least 20 to 30 percent more on BSNL Recruits than DoT absorbed and he is ready to issue a white paper in this regard. However, AIGETOA is categorical in its approach that Defined Contribution Benefits can never be compared with Defined Benefits and emphasized that management is welcome to issue a white paper.

There were few other comments also from CMD BSNL on which association is preparing its response and is waiting for the white paper to be issued by Management before taking a final call on the next course. Further, it will be worth to mention that AIGETOA was the only association to question on the multi-dimensional aspects of merger of MTNL into BSNL. We have not opposed the merger and instead suggested that before merger, the pending HR issues must be settled and Pay Scales of BSNL executives should be made at par with MTNL counter parts instead of lowering their Scales and that 3rd PRC must be implemented.

Those speaking after us have not countered anything from their side and instead it can be felt from their web update that somewhere they are in agreement of the words of CMD BSNL.  Our Sister Association is even calling Leave Encashment as part of retirement benefits for which AIGETOA already got a clarification issued from DPE. Based on that clarification, other PSUs implemented 30% SAB in totality while sadly BSNL started partial SAB in 2016 after prolonged persuasion by our association. They have also wrongly reported that we have entered into any comparison because we are firmly aware that Defined Benefits of absorbed executives cannot be compared with Defined Contribution Benefits as per DPE guidelines.

As far as AIGETOA is concerned, we remain committed for resolution of each and every issue. We are of the firm view that BSNL Recruits are governed by different rules (DPE) on these matters and the Defined Contribution Benefits cannot be compared with defined benefits. We firmly state that if management is so concerned on extra contribution towards BSNL Recruits, they are welcome to review the contribution and extend the same benefits as defined for the DoT counterparts, like applicability of 50% Pension (Old Pension Scheme) after 20 year service, complete Leave Encashment of 300 days on Resignation/VR, CGHS facilities to the retired BSNL recruits etc. IF at all any comparison is to be made, the same should be of benefits not contribution. The comparison should be on the social status of the employee post retirement and his family after the death of the employee. The comparison should be on how many recommendations of DPE exclusively pertaining to BSNL recruits have been implemented in totality vis-à-vis the recommendations made with regard to the other set of employees. AIGETOA is not interested in any comparison but going by the statement of CMD BSNL and the web update of our sister association, it is definitely giving an essence that this comparison is essentially required to expose the misdeeds of the past. We will surely welcome and wait ensure the white paper by Management on this comparison. We are quite interested to see how this white paper will do the comparison between defined benefits and defined contribution. Come what may, we will continue to raise all such injustices and disparities in future also and at all available platforms till it is resolved in totality.

Hence, we request all the BSNL recruits to not to get demotivated by such statements of management as well as other groups and associations. AIGETOA is totally committed to ensure that all the groups in this organisation gets their defined dues and BSNL Recruits will also get their dues. There is no such comparison and there cannot be any such comparison.