New Delhi: Employees of public sector telecom firm MTNL on Friday staged protest outside the telecom ministry, demanding immediate steps for the revival of the loss-making organisation as well as to revise wage and pension.
"MTNL has been registering losses because of government's decision. Our demand is that the government should take responsibility for the losses and infuse capital for revival of the organisation," MTNL Mazdoor Sangh Convener and General Secretary Dharam Raj Singh said.
Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has been making losses since 2009-10 after it was asked to pay Rs 11,000 crore for mobile airwaves, and incurred additional expenses on account of second wage revision leading to payouts to employees. Its total debt stands at over Rs 15,000 crore now.
The protest was organised by the 'Forum of MTNL Unions and Associations' which is demanding that the government should infuse Rs 2,500 crore for upgradation of network, refund Rs 2,371 crore interest the firm paid on spectrum payments and further Rs 6,000-7,000 crore to help it reduce finance cost by expanding authorised capital base.
The company narrowed its loss in the first quarter ended June 30, 2017 to Rs 703.17 crore from Rs 718.02 crore posted in the same period a year ago.
The state-run firm posted standalone net loss of Rs 2,941 crore at the end of 2016-17. The total income of the company in April-June 2017 shrinked to Rs 812.66 crore from Rs 881.93 crore a year ago.
The total income of MTNL at the end of 2016-17 was Rs 3,552.46 crore. Singh said the employees have demanded merger of 78.2 per cent dearness allowance in the basic pay with effect from January 1, 2007 at par with that of its sister concern BSNL.
"We are only getting benefit of 68.8 per cent dearness allowance. We have demanded the government to neutralise it and make it 78.2 per cent," Singh said.
MTNL employees have demanded that casual workers of the Department of Telecom (DoT) who were absorbed by the firm should be allowed to cultivate casual service benefit.
The protesters also demanded that pension for DoT employees, who were absorbed by MTNL, should be revised and made at par with that of the DoT employees.