Relaxation and the Issue of BSNL Wage revision
In the BSNL , the trade Unions are struggling their level best for wage revision pending since 1-1-2017. They have been in the same wage structure in the last 16 years that is from 1-1-2007.
The stumbling block for non settlement is the DPE guidelines and the relevant affordability clause. DPE has issued guidelines for 2017 pay revision which, inter-alia, includes an affordability clause, based on the recommendations of Committee of Secretaries (CoS) on the report of 3rd Pay Revision Committee (PRC). DPE is telling the ministries approaching, that they have to take up the case with cabinet , if they seek any relaxation.
Accordingly the DPE wage cell OM dt 18-4-18 addressed to DOT (With Reference to DOT OM dt 20-3-18) said so:
As per DPE guidelines, BSNL does not fall under the category mentioned in para 5 of 3-8-17. Affordability clause decision is based on the Committee of Secretaries on 3rd PRC. Any relaxation/ amendment in the extant guidelines would require the approval of the cabinet for which DOT may examine the issue at its end for necessary action
If the DOT /ministry feels BSNL a fit case for relaxation of affordability clause , then they have to take up the case to the cabinet. DPE's reply is common to both DOT as well as steel ministry. It is up to DOT to take up the case of BSNL as a fit one for relaxation. It seems DOT is evading this even though it has given some assurances for wage revision during the time of struggle calls.
DOT is moving in a different direction and taking initiatives for Pension revision even in the absence of pay revision but taking the scales of 3rd PRC for Executives- BSNL sent scales of NE and calculating the estimate of expenditure for providing not only Pension revision to those retired before 1-1-2017 and also giving solution for the Post 2017 pensioners by notional pay fixation and PPO on notional pay.
This way DOT is evading the question of Executive Pay revision and thereby Non- executive Pay settlement also.
When DOT is contemplating to take the issue of Pension revision to the cabinet approval why not in the same yardstick, it is not taking the issue of relaxation of affordability clause to the cabinet for the BSNL employees. The cost of the same is very much reduced as there were more than one lakh and few thousands retired since Jan 2017.
Almost 6 years have gone since 2017 and if DOT is going to decide only on notional Pay, why not the same maybe extended to the Employees also till the date of issue of cabinet approval. The left over months for actual pay to draw is very much reduced for the employees on the service, beyond the date of approval of cabinet.
If pay revision issue on account of seeking relaxation is settled, then the confusion of notional PPO may also be sorted out and PPO may be as per the last pay drawn. Though this is viewed as not a bigger issue by many associations, the need of disturbing the parity of getting pension as per formula in parity with CG employees as per 37 A can be avoided, as DOT is telling about the requirement of amendment.
I have given below the list of some of the ‘Record of Discussions’ held in connection with the pay revision with the Unions /associations. I hope that may be useful for those interested and the stake holders waiting for the last 6 years for pay revision.
9-2-2023 19 hrs - R .Pattabiraman
Record Of Discussions/Minutes/Letters of various dates
· DOT's letter to CMD dated 21-2-2018 File no.24-1/2018-SR
( on the subject of AUAB agitation)
point 1: 3rd Pay revision with 15 %fitment : As per the PRC Report, BSNL is not covered for fitment benefits due to its losses
point 2 : pension revision : case of pension revision of the employees permanently absorbed in BSNL will be taken up as when 3rd PRC is implemented in BSNL
· DOT letter to CMD dt 6th NOV 2018:
“The matter of affordability of BSNL to pay 15% annual impact Rs 4300 cr, for which the present finance status/position of BSNL may not permit to accommodate the extra burden without support from other sources...
You are requested to submit a concrete viable proposal with a detailed analysis on the above points among other that you consider relevant to enable this Department to further examine the proposal.”
· Record of Discussions on 3-12-2018 issued by DOT - Intimation by BSNL/7-1/SR/2018 dated 4-3-2018
Secretary T apprised the Hon' minister regarding the status of each of the four demands.
Regarding pay revision in pursuance of 3rd PRC for executives, it was informed that the issue is under consideration and certain additional inputs are required. BSNL management should work out a viable proposal regarding pay revision. it was also informed by CMD BSNL that negotiation of BSNL management with the Unions/Associations in relation to wage revision of NE employees are in the final stage. Hon' MOS IC directed all concerned that due priority be accorded to this demand of the Employees/ Officers for an expeditious decision.
Hon' MOS also directed that an institutional mechanism be put in place for periodic interaction between AUAB, BSNL and relevant DOT officers so that there is no communication gap..
· Draft Proposal Of Joint Committee of wage Revision Record of Proceedings
Minimum pay scale ratio is taken as that of E1 as 2.44 and the NE1 scale is 19000-45700. The end scale NE 12 is 39900-114800
3.2 Fitment Benefit at this stage is proposed 15 % - however the same will be in the line with that granted to/ approval for Executives by DOT/Govt/Board.
5... In other words the rate of fitment as may be approved for Executives by the Administrative Ministry the same fitment will be applicable to Non Exe..
· staff side placed their views for the above draft proposal of BSNL vide their letter dated 11-12-2018. For this BSNL management gave their reply vide F. No. BSNL/38-1/Sr/2016 dated 28-12-2018
Accordingly, the fitment formula as well as the proposal of negotiated revised scales of pay for Non-Exe will be subject to the outcome of or any instructions/ directions from the Government on the proposal for revision of executive Pay scales and fitment formula and the approval by the management, Nomination and Remuneration Committee of the Board, BSNL Board and the Administrative Ministry. Once all these approvals are obtained, the agreement will be signed.
3.2 Fitment Benefit: The same will be in line with that granted to / approved for Executives by DOT/ Govt/Board.
The staff side was also informed that pending approval of revised pay scales for Executives as per 3rd PRC by the competent authority and the affordability as important condition precedent for the revision of executives Pay scales the negotiated revised pay scales of NE cannot come into force, as it will have to be compliant with the DPE guidelines..
In view of the aforesaid facts and that the revised scales/ fitment of Executives as per 3rd PRC is yet to be approved by the competent authority, your suggestions ( staff side) to delete the portion of proceedings will not be in confirmity with the DPE guidelines..
You are therefore, advised to reconsider the matter w.r.t above cited DPE guidelines and convey your consent for early settlement.
· BSNL F.No. BSNL/7-3/SR/2018/1 dated 15-02-2019 also another appeal to unions
" In the given situation, the strike proposed will only add to such negative perceptions being tried to be created against our Company. such activities may lead to a situation, when even the pay revision by 5 % of fitment will also become out of reach and we will be hurting nobody but ourselves and our company the most...
In this direction, the management has clarified to the representatives of employees that in view of the present financial position of the company on one hand and to give immediate relief to the employees of BSNL on the other hand, DOT is considering DA neutralisation on the basis of 3rd PRC scales. This is in view of the fact that some of the groups brought to the information of management that this would mitigate the staganation of many of the employees. DOT will try for further 5 % fitment thereafter. However BSNL will not seek budgetary support to effect the pay revision.."
· F.No BSNL/7-3/SR/2018 dated 29-10-2021
It was informed that wage revision committee was being reconstituted and a meeting will be held after Diwali. The Unions and associations submitted that they were agreeable to wage revision with 0 % fitment to address stagnation.
· BSNL/38-1/SR/2016 dated 7-3-2022
2.2 Multiplication factors and span
New pay scales proposed by the management side notionally w.e.f 1-1-2017 are designed as below:
For minimum of the pay scale 2.20 to 2.21
For maximum of pay scale 2.33 to 2.62
Span is 20-28 stages
2.4 Staff side comments: in case of executives 3rd PRC, new pay scales have been fixed by DPE which cannot be changed. Where as in case of NE already negotiated scales in the earlier held meetings are being proposed to be changed and this will have long term effect on the next pay revision due in 2027.
The new pay scales should be designed considering 5 % fitment instead of zero percent.
3. conclusion :
The management suggested that the staff side can send suggestions/proposals based on the actual stagnation/ pay anomaly cases of the employees for further discussion.
· BSNL/38-1/SR/2016 dated 16-11-2022
2.1 staff side insisted that the wage revision of the NE should be settled by considering 5 % fitment instead of 0 %
2.2 The management side explained: The new pay scales have been designed considering 0 % fitment, in which the issues like stagnation in existing pay scales, minimum increase in pension contribution have been largely addressed. It is not possible to give wage revision of 5 % as BSNL is incurring losses since 2009-10.
3. No conclusion could be arrived as staff side insisted for 5 % fitment and management side expressed its inability due to being in losses since 2009-10.
· BSNL/ 38-1/SR/2016 dated 29-11-2022
2.2 Staff side demanded for minimum 5 % fitment or at par with the fitment to be given to the Executives on pay revision, whichever is higher.
Management side mentioned: Since BSNL is in losses since 2009-10, 5 % fitment cannot be given. However DPE guidelines are silent about 0 % fitments. If staff side desires, it can be accordingly be recorded in report.