Retired High Court judge will settle them

A little over 60 industrial disputes, involving more than 1000 BSNL employees seeking regularisation, will be referred to a retired Judge of the Madras High Court, who will act as mediator and settle them.

The First Bench of the Madras High Court, comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, passed an order recently referring the matter for mediation on an appeal filed by the BSNL, represented by its Chairman and Managing Director, New Delhi, and others, against an order of a single judge in February this year.

It relates to regularisation of employees of the BSNL Employees Union. The union contended that its employees were the direct labourers of BSNL working under the Telecommunications department, even prior to formation of the company. They were continuously working even after the formation of BSNL.

The dispute was referred to the Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum Labour Court, Chennai. Against the interim order passed, a writ petition was filed, which resulted in the filing of the appeal. During the hearing, both counsel submitted that they had no objection if the dispute between the union and the BSNL was resolved and settled through mediation. They were agreeable to referring the matter to Justice K.P. Sivasubramaniam.

S.Vaidyanathan, counsel for the BSNL Employees Union, said he was ready to produce all the documents before the mediator. The Bench said the Industrial Tribunal should also send all the documents. It requested the retired judge to submit the result of mediation within three months. The Bench order would be followed in all the connected pending matters where a similar relief is sought for by the union.