Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Strange bedfellows
NFTE and FNTO are the partners of the so called “BSNL workers Alliance”. These two unions claim that they have the support of 50% of the BSNL workers (Let them have the pleasure of claiming so). These unions have refused to come forward for a joint struggle with the United Forum on the question of wage revision for obvious reasons. Every now and then they do not fail to make shows that they are also fighting to settle wage revision. Today, the main problem in the settlement of wage revision is the ‘period’. The United Forum alliance, of which BSNLEU is a constituent, is demanding a 5 year settlement. The United Forum has already conducted a glorious two days strike on this demand. Whereas, the management wants to impose a 10 year settlement. But what is the stand of the BSNL Workers Alliance on this crucial issue.

FNTO has openly accepted management’s condition of a 10 year wage settlement. In fact, it is aggressively campaigning for the same. FNTO has also written to the management, that it was prepared to accept a 10 year wage settlement. In collusion with the management, FNTO has called upon the workers, to submit declarations, stating that they were ready to accept a 10 year wage settlement. This unethical step of FNTO has been overwhelmingly rejected by the workers. Hence, out of frustration, FNTO is conducting a vilifying campaign against BSNLEU. It has branded BSNLEU’s demand of a 5 year wage settlement as political. Workers have understood the true colour of FNTO and have ignored it’s vicious propaganda.

Under these circumstances, it is not known what is the stand of NFTE on this vital question of periodicity. NFTE is a constituent of the CPSTU. As such it is duty bound to the demand 5 year wage settlement and strive to settle it. But fact remains that, it is not openly raising this demand. When it’s alliance partner, viz., FNTO, is openly and vociferously campaigning for a 10 year wage settlement, NFTE prefers to remain silent. What does this mean? Has NFTE deviated from the decision of the CPSTU to demand a 5 year wage revision? It has to make it’s position clear.

Further, what is the demand of the BSNL Workers Alliance on the question of periodicity? The two major partners have identical view on periodicity or not? If so, what is that view? Five years or 10 years. The Alliance has the duty to spell out it’s stand to the workers.

His Master’s Voice

FNTO argues that BSNL cannot afford to accept a 5 year wage settlement, since it’s performance and profit have gone down. This is precisely the argument of the management also. We have a few questions to ask. Only a few months back, the top executives of BSNL have got pay hike upto 72%. How the performance and profit of the company permitted that? A little earlier, the entire ITS officers got hefty pay hike, as per the recommendations of the 6th pay commission. How BSNL’s performance and profit parameters permitted that? How is that only when the workers raise a justified demand, BSNL’s performance and profit are not permitting it? The workers have understood that the voice of FNTO is nothing but the voice of the management.

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