In the State, 4,596 out of 9,381 employees opted for VRS
Going through the biggest mass retirement of its staff till date, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is planning to tide over the staff shortage by outsourcing much of the external work. An outsourcing policy sent by the corporate office to all centres acknowledges that many of the line staff involved in provisioning and maintenance of the copper cable network have opted for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).
Out of 1.63 lakh employees across the country, 78,569 retired on Friday. In Kerala, 4,596 out of 9,381 employees opted for the VRS. This will seriously affect the external maintenance work and internal work.
A communique sent by the corporate office last month says the staff required for internal work shall be rationalised by merging the duties of some of the existing posts.
The new policy allows all telecom circles to outsource maintenance work and provision of landline and broadband connections.
The outsourcing model can be implemented on need basis for selected exchanges due to post-VRS reduction in staff.
A private company can be chosen to carry out the work for a period of two years, after which the contract can be extended based on performance.
Among the services to be outsourced are attending to all types of network faults, provision of new landline and broadband connections and shifting of connections. Some of the customer service counters are also to be outsourced. Union leaders see these moves as the management’s way of testing the waters for the eventual privatisation of the organisation.
“The Central government announced the revival package for BSNL in October last year. However, barring the VRS scheme, none of the other promises in the package have been implemented. These include the provision of financial assistance and 4G spectrum to BSNL. All the private players have been providing 4G services for years now, but only the public sector telecom company has not been allowed to provide 4G services till date, which had led to erosion of customers. That seems to be the aim of the government too, as private players like Reliance Jio have gained immensely from this,” said a union leader.
The All India BSNL DoT Pensioner’s Association has demanded that pension be provided immediately to the retired employees. Salary for two months is already pending for the employees.