ANDHRA PRADESH

Telecom employees launch hunger strike

VIJAYAWADA, AUG. 21. Members of the National Federation of Telecom Employees launched an indefinite hunger strike in front of the BSNL Bhavan here on Saturday to press for the fulfilment of their pending demands.

The Vijayawada West MLA, Sheik Nazarvalli, visited the camp and expressed solidarity with the strikers. The district General Secretary of the association, T. V. Ramana Murthy, said telecom employees at New Delhi had launched an agitation on August 17 and employees here had gone on a hunger strike to support them.

The demands

Mr. Murthy said their demands were related to the status of contributions made by employees to welfare schemes, the standing order associated with the Industrial Employment Act (1946), and pension and wages of executive staff.

Other demands include the provision of international services to BSNL customers and the recruitment of technicians required for such services, the removal of anomalies in wages on the basis of seniority and an assurance that the VRS scheme would not be implemented after the end of the strike.

The Central Government must decide on providing group insurance and payment of the 2003 bonus, Mr. Murthy said, adding that the hunger strike would continue until the Central Government conceded their demands.