PTCL Operations got Jammed As Employees Protest against "Unified Pay Scale"

Today, throughout Pakistan, PTCL exchanges remained on strike, leaving hundreds if not thousands of customers helpless; who were either looking for their telephone lines to get restored or those of DSL customers waiting for their broadband connections get deployed.

No activity was reported but the protest by PTCL employees over the unified pay scale (UPS). The PTCL employees’ union, CBA, has wholly rejected the unified pay scale thus burned copies of the document in front of PTCL Headquarter, PTCL exchanges and press clubs throughout Pakistan.

What is Unified Package?

As reported in ‘Daily Jang’ on July 14, 2008, PTCL administration decided that all employees of the company will have to sign a new contract and they will have to accept all new rules and working regulations or they can and get out of the company very calmly.

New contract, which is named as “Unified Pay Scale” reached PTCL employees through a notification last day. Unified Pay Scale (also termed as UPS) says that previous employment agreements will be void and no benefits can be claimed by any PTCL employee, which were granted under previous agreements. UPS will deprive all employees from Pension (retirement fund) as well.

All PTCL employees were directed to submit signed copies of their UPS agreements before July 21st, 2008, or their employment with PTCL will be terminated.

What Next?

Nothing good is coming in its way for PTCL. Employees are on countrywide protest and they are going to continue this series until their demands are not met. The bad thing is that UPS is going to effect majority of employees, as high as 21,000; hence there are good chances that this protest from almost all employees will go long.

PTCL employees think that UPS is an effort by PTCL administration to degrade employees from their permanent status to the contractual one.
Background

Since the privatization of PTCL, the company remained encircled by various controversies and disputes, mainly due to bad management by PTCL administration and lack of interest from Government. Competition from cellular companies has brought down the net profit of PTCL from Rs 29 billion before privatization to mere Rs 10 billion now.

Before privatization of PTCL, Government had announced that after the company would give facilities to employees, upgrade their pay scales, and increase their allowances but the promise had not seen the light of the day yet.

Government’s Role in PTCL crisis?

Previous government badly failed to face the press and public when they were asked about the benefits of Privatization, along with the added concessions given to Etisalat for buying most valued corporate entity of Pakistan.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in a recent announcement said that it will discuss the issue in parliament to investigate the alleged scandalous privatization of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) by the former government.

“We are going to submit an adjournment motion in the National Assembly against the PTCL’s privatisation. We will demand a special parliamentary committee to probe the country’s biggest financial scam, the registration of an FIR against former premier Shaukat Aziz and former minister Awais Leghari and their arrest,” People’s Labour Bureau (PLB) chief Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed said in a press conference.

Bottom Line:

What ever the parliament, or the Supreme Court decides, (a petition had been filed against PTCL privatization in SC, Chief Justice Iftikhar M. Ch had a pressure of not hearing this petition too) there is nothing going to happen to Etisalat, Shaukat Aziz, Awais Leghari, Yousaf Raza Gillani…and many others.

The worst hit will be PTCL employees who live their lives from hand to mouth, and the customers who will have to compromise with the communication means. May Allah help our contry. Ameen

Update: July 17, 2008 (4:30 PM): Protests are going on even on third day, despite of assurance through a notification from SEVP Finance, that administation is taking back Unified Pay Scale and agreeing on all other demands asked by PTCL employees.

However, employees carry on protests as they think this is a total drama instead of any serious attitude from PTCL administration. PTCL’s spokesman’s statment reflected this as well, as he showed ignorance over any such notification by SEVP Finance, reported Geo TV.

Earlier on today, Prime minister had ordered to resolve the issue in two days and made committee to discuss and negotiate over the issue comprising 4 senior Ministers.
For last 2 days, PTCL employees have made sure that no one enters exchanges throughout Pakistan. All operation are jammed, even the helpline is not working. Private ISPs are forcing government to do the necessary action, as they are loosing their customers due to delays in DSL installations and rectification of complaints.

Seems that this drama is going to prolong for another couple of days.

Updates coming soon

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK