Khosa says PTCL bound by agreement to raise workers' salaries -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Khosa says PTCL bound by agreement to raise workers’ salaries

By Abrar Mustafa

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Information technology Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa has said that the PTCL management’s reluctance to give 50% salary raise to its regular employees is flagrant violation of the provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (re-organisation) Act, 1996 and covenants made in the Shareholders Agreement.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani about the ongoing PTCL workers strike he made a strong case for salary hike for the PTCL worker. Following is the text of the letter:

My Dear Sir,

I wish to draw your kind attention towards a very serious issue, which relates to the bread and butter of more than 26,000 poor families of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).

At the time of transformation of Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTC) into PTCL in the year 1996, the terms and conditions of those employees who were transferred from PTC to PTCL were protected under Sections 35 and 36(2) of the Pakistan Telecommunication (reorganisation) Act, 1996. These transferred employees commonly known as “regular employees” in the PTCL are treated as government employees.

Thereafter at the time of privatisation of PTCL the terms and conditions of these transferred/regular employees were also given protection under clause 16.2 of Shareholders Agreement duly signed between the President of Pakistan and ETISALAT International affecting the transfer of only 26% of PTCL shares to ETSALAT.

The government of Pakistan still being the majority shareholder in the PTCL is supposed to oversee and manage this Shareholders Agreement in order to protect the valuable interests involved therein in shape property, equity and human resource of the government of Pakistan.

The overseeing power of the interest of government and people of Pakistan is also enumerated in Shareholders Agreement which is the joint responsibility of ministry of information and telecom, ministry of privatisation but unfortunately both the concerned ministries and their incompetent bureaucracy have absolutely failed to perform their obligations and duties in this regard.

The people-friendly government of Pakistan, considering the economic conditions of the country, has recently given 50% salary raise to all government employees which was automatically applicable to “transferred employees/regular employees” of PTCL but the foreign management of PTCL is reluctant to give this 50% salary raise to its regular employees, manifestly violating the crystal clear provisions of Pakistan Telecommunication (re-organization) Act, 1996 and covenants made in the Shareholders Agreement.

The most unfortunate part of the story is that the civil bureaucracy sitting in the ministry of information technology and telecom, ministry of privatisation and ministry of finance which was supposed to protect the interest of labourers and the poor people of Pakistan is illegally, unlawfully and callously serving their own interest and showing inclination to support the illegitimate and unwarranted wishes of the foreign management of PTCL (the status of which is yet to be decided by the Hon’able Sindh High Court where a petition titled ‘Haji Khan Bhatti vs. PTCL’ challenging the privatisation of PTCL is pending adjudication).

If the management of PTCL succeeds, in connivance with bureaucrats, the effect of this move will be catastrophic and it will plunge more than 26000 families of transferred/regular employees of PTCL into poverty and hunger, which will not only create a severe humanitarian crises but also a law and order situation countrywide which the country cannot afford at this juncture.

In addition to above-mentioned aspects, many other irregularities of grave concern indicate that the affairs of PTCL are currently being managed as personal dynasty. There is no human resource manual for contractual employees (highly arbitrary decision-making), the deputed SEVP Human Resource is a not competent and qualified, highly flawed procurement system and project management systems have been put in place.

Therefore, viewing the aforementioned state of affairs, the PM may like to direct all concerned to act strictly in accordance with the law and not to act in defiance of provisions of Pakistan Telecommunication (re-organisation) Act, 1996 and covenants made in Shareholders Agreement. One suggested measure for kind approval of the Prime Minister is to direct for immediately holding tripartite talks.

Our political government should accept and assert its role being the custodian of rights of labour and interests of majority stakeholder, also as mediator between the labour and management.

Sincerely yours,
Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa
Source: The News
Date:9/2/2010