Kerala

BSNL contract workers’ wait for wages continues

File photo of Contract Labour Union employees staging a protest in Thiruvananthapuram.

File photo of Contract Labour Union employees staging a protest in Thiruvananthapuram.   | Photo Credit: S. Gopakumar

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Talks between union and management prove inconclusive

Contract workers of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), whose wages have not been paid for the past eight months, will have to wait further for their wages, with the talks between the BSNL Casual Contract Labourers Union and the management proving to be inconclusive.

The management has now assured the unions that it will take up the issue with the corporate office and get the wages of at least one month cleared at the earliest.

Indefinite protest

The union had last month temporarily called off an indefinite protest after the management assured them that the wages for one month will be paid by November 30. However, this promise was not honoured. In the five-hour marathon meeting which ended late Monday night, the unions demanded that the management also keep in abeyance an order it had issued in September arbitrarily changing the retirement age to 55.

Close to 2,000 contract staff were asked to leave in the State based on this order.

Retirement age

The unions demanded that this order regarding retirement age be executed only after the entire pending wages are paid. The management thus agreed to keep it in abeyance till December 16, after which further discussions will be held.

The corporate office had directed all circles for the reduction of contract labour by 30% in terms of numbers as well as expenditure. It further said that contract workers should be engaged only for activities which could not be performed by the regular employees.

The number of days for engagement of contract workers should also be reduced to three days, “where it is inevitable to engage”.

Pending wages

The unions also put forward the demand that contractors should be allowed to discontinue their work only after paying all the pending wages. It should be the responsibility of the management to ensure the payment of wages. The contract workers have been struggling for the better part of the year owing to their pending wages.

In November, a 52-year-old BSNL contract worker from Malappuram district allegedly committed suicide after he failed to get wages for several months.

“Many of them don’t even have enough money to come to the office, yet quite a few of them still carry out their duties. The management has now promised to pressure the corporate office to pay the pending wages at the earliest,” says BSNL CCLU working president K. Mohanan.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:25:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/bsnl-contract-workers-wait-for-wages-continues/article30156563.ece

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