BSNL Retired Employees Slap Legal Notice As VRS Benefits Still Not Provided

BSNL Retired Employees Slap Legal Notice As VRS Benefits Still Not Provided
BSNL Retired Employees Slap Legal Notice As VRS Benefits Still Not Provided

As per the reports, the recently-retired employees of the two telcos, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) have requested a legal recourse after the Centre’s failure to disburse benefits under the ambitious voluntary retirement scheme (VRS),and return back to work.

How Did This Happen?

After citing the failure to adhere to conditions of the scheme binding to both employer and employee, the legal notice served to the secretaries of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Department of Expenditure (DoE).

Further, the notice informed about the government’s failure to pay ex-gratia in two equal installments of 50% each, by March 31 and June 30.

Moreover, the legal notice dated July 9, sent to the top officials by a Punjab & Haryana high court counsel Manmohan Upneja.

According to the notice, as of March 31, the payment of only 31.3% and 22.5% as on June end were made to the employees who opted for the retirement scheme.

Prior to this, a mega voluntary retirement scheme was approved by the Cabinet in October 2019.

Basically, it was a part of the revival package of the two financially-stressed telecom carriers, further opted by as many as MTNL’s 14,387 workforce and  78,569 employees of BSNL.

It was primarily aimed to substantially cut their high wage-to-revenue ratio.

What Does The Employees Say?

In response to this, the employees who have been caught between the mess have further offered to join back operations as they were yet to avail full benefits under the government-driven scheme.

According to them, they were lured into this scheme, despite the lack of sufficient funds.

The General Secretary of the Telecom Officers Association of BSNL, Anil Kumar Tiwari said, “We should not be offered VRS if the government had no money to pay and honour conditions clearly laid out in the scheme. Instead, the employees who have opted for the VRS, are now ready to come back to work,”.

Apart from this, in a separate letter to the telecom department, the Delhi-based BSNL employees group sought the cancellation of the VRS -2019 scheme.

Further, they asked for a permission to scheme optees to rejoin their respective offices due to non-availability of funds.

According to them as the condition of the contract has already been breached.

So, the voluntary scheme should be canceled and all willing employees should be taken back on duty. 

For the already paid ex-gratia amount, it can be recovered from salary in equal installments according to the association.

Although, in October, the Cabinet said that the cost of VRS will be borne by the government through budgetary support and he ex-gratia component of VRS will require Rs. 17,169 crore, in addition, the government will be meeting the cost towards pension, gratuity, and commutation.

On top of this, the BSNL management failed to pay medical bills but for those currently working they are cleared timely.

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