PTCL: WORKERS REGULARIZATION

Out of 7,193 daily-wage employees, 4,400 would be regularized in the first phase

By AZAM ALI
Oct 18 - 24, 2004

Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited (PTCL), a growing corporation which has brought a revolution in the telecommunication system of the country and has earned record profits, has however suffering from some grey areas which need corrective steps to save the creditability of this organization which is an umpire on its own domain.

Recently, the employees of the PTCL expressed their dismay and concern and also went on a token strike to press for their demands. Actually they were protesting over what they called negligence on the part of the management over the history making decision of the former Prime Minister Ch. Shujat Hussain who had announced to regularize the services of the contract employees in PTCL. However, according to them, the management seems reluctant to honour the decision of the former Prime Minister for regularizing the contract employees and using the delaying tactics.

As a result of the strained relations between employees and the management, the organization had to sustain huge revenue losses during last month besides shattering the trust and confidence of the employees.

It is painful to note that consistency of the policies is the hallmark of President General Pervez Musharraf's agenda for revival of the economy.

It is said that justice delayed justice denied. Similarly, the PTCL management by delaying the implementation of the decision taken by the former Prime Minister seems denying the facility to workers. It is, however, amazing that the former prime minister hails from the same camp and does not belong to any rival political group. Despite his association with the present team of management, the non implementation over his decision seems surprizing.

This is even more painful when the major decision of Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain regarding regularization of PTCL's daily wages employees was not accepted by the prime minister Shaukat Aziz, even being the prime minister of the same political party. This controversy resulted in a two-week strike in which entire PTCL virtually remained closed as the protesting employees observed a two-hour daily pen drop strike in all over Pakistan.

That ended last week with a joint statement of PTCL and union announced on October 12, 2004.

Here is the text of Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain during a press conference in Islamabad on August 16, 2004.

"Prime Minister Ch. Shujaat Hussain announcing regularization of 4400 employees of Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTCL) directed all departments to prepare policies to regularize their daily-wage workers. Addressing a press conference at Pakistan Muslim League House, Prime Minister Ch Shujaat Hussain, along with the Minister for Information Technology Owais Leghari said the objective is to provide these workers job security and enhance their efficiency.

Prime Minister said from now on all such decisions would be announced from the party platform. He said Owais Leghari is the first to use this forum and in future similar decisions would be made from PML House. He said the measure would strengthen the party and elevate its stature. Shujaat directed other government departments and organizations to pursue a similar policy to regularize its daily wage workers and come up with similar packages.

Under the proposals made by the Minister for IT Awais Leghari of the 7193 employees working in the corporation since 1992, 4400 would be adjusted on vacant posts in the first phase, while the rest 2793 would be adjusted in the second phase in this regard "adjustment" would cost Rs 189 million. Prime Minister Shujaat Hussain called for a clear-cut policy of regularization of such workers and said a similar treatment should be meted out in all departments.

Awais Leghari said PTCL under the directions of the positive guidelines of the President has taken this decision. He said in future all inductions in PTCL will be made on commercial basis. He said those inducted would be re-trained and go through regular career planning. He said these workers would get the fringe benefits of medical, gratuity and annual leaves and be provided a conducive atmosphere.

But only after of the announcement an invisible crack was found when the chairman and president of PTCL Junaid I. Khan held another press conference next day announcing the same with framework. Following is the statement of President of PTCL Junaid I. Khan.

"Pakistan Telecommunications Company (PTCL) would regularize services of its over 7,000 daily-wage workers in two phases who have been working with the company since 1992.

"The regularization plan aims at providing job security to the employees that will help enhance their efficiency as well as the company's operational capability", PTCL president and chief executive officer (CEO) said.

Speaking at a press conference at the PTCL headquarters, Mr. Khan said out of 7,193 daily-wage employees, 4,400 would be regularized in the first phase which will be completed within four to five months and the remaining will be regularized subsequently in the second phase.

The basic criteria for the confirmation of daily-wage workers' services would be on merit and assured that no new appointments would be made in the company, he added.

After getting regularized, these workers will be entitled for gratuity, leave, house rent and medical facilities like confirmed employees, he said. "With this decision, I hope their motivational level will be high and the company will be delivering better services".

In response to a question, he said, the regularization of daily-wage employees would cost the company an additional budget of Rs189 million every year. Responding to another question, he said the PTCL had always endeavoured to offer maximum facilities to its customers through its broad spectrum of services.

"We are working to expand the network of PTCL by providing two million new connections in near future". Answering a question about call charges, he said, PTCL had reduced fixed line rent by 33 per cent and domestic and international call charges had also been decreased substantially.