New Delhi: Country’s largest telecom operator BSNL will hold its board meeting on 27 August to discuss growth strategies and challenges, including its listing plan which is facing stiff opposition by its employees unions with over three lakh staff under its fold.
“It (discussion on IPO) may come for discussion in the board meeting on August 27...nothing concrete yet. ...other issues would be general — operations, growth,” BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal told PTI.
The decision on IPO has brought the company in direct conflict with its employee unions, which have threatened an indefinite strike if the PSU goes ahead with the IPO.
On the IPO prospects, he said: “Employees acceptance is a critical to the process to start and succeed...we are in no hurry for the IPO. Just trying to make the groundwork. We have made no tangible progress towards any consensus on IPO.”
Goyal’s disappointment stands contrast to his exuberance few weeks ago when he had said the management of BSNL is seeing some positive response from the unions.
A senior official of the PSU said now Department of Telecom, not BSNL is holding discussions with the union.
He said to kickstart the process, the government has to issue a notification. A committee comprising of officials of different ministries including Finance, Disinvestment and law has to be set up to oversee the process, merchant bankers to be appointed and account cleaning has to start.
“The basic activity has not started...we are waiting for the Union to understand and give us some sort of acceptance. This is a key requirement of the start-up process,” the official said.
The official said the board is also likely to discuss the proposed merger between BSNL and ITI. A proposal has been given by ITI employees for the merger and BSNL employees have opposed it.
The PSU board has already cleared the company’s proposed $10 billion listing plan, with divesting 10% stake of government’s 100% holding.
It has already offered Esops to the employees which have been rejected by the union. They believe that the Government will gradually privatise the company as it did in the case of VSNL and IPO is detrimental to BSNL’s growth.
Corporate structure of BSNL board consists of CMD and five full time Directors. There are five other Directors in the board of BSNL. Department of telecom has two nominees on BSNL board.