Thiruvananthapuram

BSNL pulls the plug on contract workers

There are around 8,000 contract workers in BSNL, Kerala. File Photo

There are around 8,000 contract workers in BSNL, Kerala. File Photo  

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Process initiated in housekeeping wing

When they left their respective offices on Friday, this group of contract workers at Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) did not know a termination letter will be waiting for them on Saturday morning. Each of them, with a few decades of service at the telecom major, expected prior intimation before any such move.

On Monday, the terminated employees staged a protest in front of the BSNL office in Statue, demanding reinstatement.

“The order came out of the blue. It said that all employees who have completed 58 years will be terminated as per a new rule. We have been working here for so many years and suddenly we are left with nothing. No benefits or prior notice was given to us,” says one of them.

As of now, only contract workers in the housekeeping department have been terminated but workers from the other key departments, including those handling cabling work, are apprehensive.

“There are 8,000 contract workers across various departments in BSNL, Kerala. Out of this, around 1,000 are in the city. The salary of such workers ranges between Rs.3500 and 9500, much lesser than permanent workers of the same level. Now, they have cited some clause in the Contract Labour Act to terminate these employees. Till this date, they have never given any of the other benefits cited in the same Act. They are already running short of people and work is pending in many areas. The termination procedure has been started from the housekeeping department but the plan is to do the same in all other departments,” says K. Vamadevan, district secretary, BSNL Casual Labourers’ Union.

A senior official of the BSNL, told the The Hindu on the condition of anonymity, that the officials here were just following orders from the Centre. “The terminations were as per a Government of India gazette notification issued in August. They will be given EPF and ESI as per the norms,” the official said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 10:06:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/bsnl-pulls-the-plug-on-contract-workers/article6675260.ece

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