As talks between the management and unions of the public sector BSNL on the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and other issues failed, employees have threatened to go on a nationwide strike on Thursday.

“Talks were held between the MTNL management and employees' unions on Monday…it failed to solve any of the issues for which notice was given. There is no change in the decision to go on strike on Thursday,” said Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Associations/Unions of BSNL Executives and Non-Executives Convener V.A.N. Namboodiri.

Following the report of the Sam Pitroda Committee, which was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for restructuring the BSNL that recommended VRS for BSNL employees to cut down on its huge wage bills, the government is keen on offering VRS to BSNL employees.

It is learnt that the government wants to cut the BSNL employees' strength of around 3 lakh workers by 1 lakh. The BSNL wants to offer VRS to employees who have completed 45 years and served on a regular basis for 15 years.

Acute shortage

On the other hand, the JAC has been alleging that the government was not providing adequate funds for modernisation of the BSNL's infrastructure and has been forcing it to provide new services in areas which are not financially viable. “The BSNL's fortunes witnessed a decline after the management cancelled a tender for procurement of 4.5-crore mobile lines in 2007 and a 9.5-crore mobile lines tender in 2010, leaving the company with an acute shortage of mobile lines and equipment that resulted in an erosion in its market share and a loss of revenue,” Mr. Namboodiri said.

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