MTNL clears VRS for 57,000, but staffers oppose move

NEW DELHI: The government-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam has approved a voluntary retirement scheme scheme for its 57,000 group 'C' and 'D' employees. The MTNL staff union has opposed the board decision saying that this was the first step towards compulsory retirement.

Sources said MTNL would offer two months salary for every one year an employee has worked in the company or two months for every one year of service left, whichever is less. MTNL has around 7,000 employees in the 'A' and 'B' groups. According to an estimate, more than 50% of category 'C' and 'D' employees are surplus in MTNL. However, the MTNL officials refused to guess the number of employees they think would avail of the VRS scheme.

"This is the first time we are offering a VRS scheme. Therefore it is very difficult to say how many employees would take voluntary retirement," said a senior MTNL official. MTNL unions have opposed the VRS. "This is a unilateral decision by the management and the unions were not consulted at any stage," said Swarup Singh, secretary general of the MTNL staff union representing 50,000 employees. "Office bearers of the union would meet within a day or two and would decide the future course of action," said Mr Singh.

VSNL's recent VRS scheme was successful, and about 1,000 employees out of a total strength of 3,000 have opted for voluntary retirement. Out of 57,000 employees, about 60% fall under category 'C' and the rest 40% are category 'D' employees.

Observers feel that close to 60% of category 'C' employees are surplus. Surplus manpower is a major problem with MTNL and with the implementation of new technologies, a large number of manpower has become surplus.

Source: The Economic Times