Bharat Sanachar Nigam (BSNL) Board will be laying off 54,000 employees in order to cut losses and save the Company from shutting down. With a debt of over Rs 13,000 crore to handle, the telecom service provider is in the middle of the worst financial crisis ever.
The reduction of retirement age to 58 will itself reduce the strength of the workforce by 33,568 employees. In addition, a VRS scheme is being offered to all staff members who are over 50, to further aid in shrinking the workforce, as the average age of the workforce is 55 years. In all, about 54, 451 employees, that is, approx. 31 per cent of the total staff strength of BSNL, will gradually be pushed out.
The Department of Telecom (DoT), which controls and manages BSNL wants the Board to wait till the elections are over to begin the layoff process.
For the first time in almost two decades, the salaries of the employees were stopped. Some of the daily wage staff were not paid wages for almost six months. Even the employee benefits were stopped to save Rs 5000 crore.
With almost 30 per cent of the workforce gone, BSNL will save about Rs 13,800 crore in the next five years, which would have otherwise gone into paying salaries and wages.
It is not BSNL alone that has been suffering losses. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) has also been unable to pay salaries to its employees last month. Both the companies had requested the Government to provide financial aid.