Employee unions of BSNL on Thursday said they would launch a nation-wide protest against the board’s decision to accept the Sam Pitroda panel report favouring 30 per cent divestment and voluntary retirement to nearly one lakh staff.

Fifteen unions of BSNL will demonstrate in front of the telecom PSU’s offices across the country on March 15, V.A.N. Namboodiri, Convener of Joint Forum of Executives and Non-Executives’ Unions and Associations, told PTI. “We will decide the future course of our action after our meeting on March 15,” he added. He, however, said services will not be disrupted due to the agitation.

The Sam Pitroda panel constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to suggest means to revive BSNL had suggested a massive voluntary retirement scheme to let go of one lakh employees or a third of its workforce, and unloading of 30 per cent of the government’s stake.

BSNL has about three lakh employees and the company has seen profit fall to about Rs 570 crore in 2008-09 from over Rs 10,000 crore in the previous fiscal as the PSU is rapidly losing market share to new entrants.

The panel also suggested abandoning the Rs 35,000 crore plan to expand the company’s GSM mobile network by 93 million lines.

The 15 unions have representations from both the executive and the non-executive employees.

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