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VSNL to cut staff strength by more than half

Mumbai, May 9: In a move to rationalise its workforce, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) today announced a voluntary retirement scheme for its employees with ‘incentives for early birds’.

The aim is to downsize the total strength by more than half from the present level of 3,000 employees, out of which about 1,700 will be eligible for the exit scheme, sources in the Tata group company said.

VSNL has offered the VRS to those employees who have attained 40 years of age and have rendered 10 years of service with the telecom company. The scheme opens on May 15 and closes on July 14.

Apart from rationalising the workforce, the scheme will offer financial support to employees who choose to exit to explore other avenues.

Sources said the VRS benefits, including provident fund, gratuity and encashment of leave, would be according to the company rules.

As an ‘early bird’ incentive, those who opt for the scheme between May 15 and May 30 will be given one month’s extra salary.

The scheme has two options. Under the first plan any employee will be eligible for 60 days’ salary for every completed year of service or 100 per cent salary of the remaining years whichever is lesser.

Sources said the offer in monetary terms will vary between Rs 2.3 lakh and Rs 10.6 lakh per employee.

Under the second option, a lump sum payment for every completed year of age and grade will be offered with payments ranging between Rs 3.8 lakh and Rs 16 lakh.

Rationalising its decision to offer the VRS, the Tata-owned telecom company said the present manpower strength is on the higher side.

With competition in the international long distance telephony segment, the revenues of VSNL have also taken a beating.

The company is also planning to diversify into national long distance, broadband and internet services.

The move to rationalise its workforce will allow the telecom major to compete better against its younger rivals.

VSNL is also expected to make investments in Tata Teleservices in an effort to have its catchment of subscribers.

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