News on layoff of 54,000 employees completely false and baseless: BSNL

The telecom space was taken by storm with rumors of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited laying off 54,000 employees. The state-owned telecom major however rubbished the news calling it false and baseless.

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Amidst widespread paranoia of 54,000 BSNL employees being laid off, CIO India reached out to BSNL to find out what actually transpired. 

And it just might be that news organizations across the country jumped the gun and reported what looks like a load of baloney.

"The news is absolute rubbish. We would like to refute this allegation entirely and clarify for the benefit of concerned employees that no such proposals are under consideration – neither from BSNL, nor from the Department of Telecom," said Sanjay Sinha, DGM - Admin and Head of Public Relations, BSNL.

Mincing no words, Sinha stated that the news reported by media organizations are 'false and completely baseless'. He added that BSNL will clarify its stand and share a press release later today.

... The news is absolute rubbish. We would like to refute this allegation entirely and clarify for the benefit of concerned employees that no such proposals are under consideration – neither from BSNL, nor from the Department of Telecom.
Sanjay Sinha
DGM - Admin and Head of Public Relations, BSNL

Furthermore, Deccan Herald, Business Today and ET Telecom reported that the BSNL board approved the recommendation to reduce the retirement age from 60 to 58. However, Sinha said BSNL hasn't agreed to this and the retirement age will continue to remain 60. 

Efforts underway to resuscitate the sluggish behemoth that BSNL has now become

In a report released last month, it was revealed that BSNL’s total loss may have crossed Rs 90,000 crore.

In a drive to turnaround the company's declining health, the department of telecommunications, the government of India and BSNL devised a set of propositions that include allotment of 4G spectrum and giving the option of a promising Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) to willing employees – popularly known as the 'golden handshake'.

 

Clarifying the company's stance, the chairman and managing director of BSNL, Anupam Shrivastava shared that the reduction of retirement age or laying off employees is not being considered at all. 

Sinha seconded the fact saying that the proposition was directed at BSNL's revival and not retirement policies.

So is there any element of truth around 54,000 employees being laid off? Sinha vociferously denied this calling it baseless and false news. 

A case of conflicting reports

While BSNL has taken a firm stance in dismissing reports around the large-scale layoff, Deccan Herald’s unnamed sources cited that the decision on retirement age and VRS will see the exit of around 54,451 BSNL employees – roughly 31 percent of its 1.7 lakh workforce.

Our sources within BSNL indicated conflicting reports as well. While an ex-DGM said that there’s no truth in the rumor around layoffs, a second source said that largescale downsizing is definitely on the cards.

However, with the head of public relations and the chairman and MD coming on record dismissing the layoff news, we are unlikely to see the prophesized mass-culling.