The Largest VRS Move Made by State-Run BSNL and MTNL Staff: 93,000 Employees Opted for VRS

India is witnessing the largest mass retirement movement with 93,000 staff members opting for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) from debt-strapped Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL).


14,400 of 18,000 employees from MTNL and 78,569 of 1,53,000 employees from BSNL have opted to retire under the VRS offered by the central government in October 2019 as part of restructuring the operations and creating a revival plan for the duo. In the Union Budget 2020-21, a sum of Rs. 37,268 Crore has been allocated for the VRS payment.


What is the anticipated outcome of this mass VRS movement?


Employer Speaks:


• The duo has been reporting losses in the past decade


• The move will lead to a substantial reduction in the wage bill, the operational costs and utility bills and generate revenue for the indebted companies by leasing out the freed up real estate


• DoT has instructed the corporation to take measures for smooth transition such that their services remain unaffected, especially in rural areas


Employees Speak:


• As per VRS offer papers, employees will get a lump sum compensation of a fixed 35 days of salaries for each year in service; and 25 days of salaries for each year left until retirement.


• 50 percent of the total payment as the first installment of the compensation shall be paid in this FY. The second installment should be processed in next FY.


P Abhimanyu, convener of the All India Unions and Associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (AUAB) said that the union has decided to go on a hunger strike on February 24, 2020 over unpaid salaries. Moreover, the VRS offer papers have certain terms in which the MTNL and BSNL employees have reasons to resist.


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