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Videsh Sanchar sheds a third of its employees

Mumbai, July 15: Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL), the international long distance telecom service provider, has shed a third of its workforce through a voluntary retirement scheme.

The company, in a notice to the stock exchanges, said that 34.75 per cent per cent or 950 of its employees have opted for VRS. The ILD operator, privatised some time back, saw almost 245 executives and 705 from the lower cadres opting for the scheme.

VSNL is currently grappling with competition in the fast changing telecom scenario.

Almost 23 per cent of the company’s executive cadre have opted for the scheme, while 44.25 per cent of the non-executive cadre have taken up this offer.

Analysts feel the pruning of workforce and costs were essential as ILD rates have dropped sharply, making the huge workforce a liability rather than a strength.

VSNL had found that almost two out of three employees were eligible for VRS and even one out of three employees opting for the scheme is considered a success by industry analysts.

When the scheme was launched, the company had said that the main objective was to rationalise manpower in line with the current business situation.

The scheme was aimed at employees who had attained 40 years of age and rendered 10 years of services in VSNL. The scheme opened on May 15, 2003 and closed on July 14, 2003.

The scheme offered sixty days salary for every completed year of service or 100 per cent of future earnings, whichever is lesser. It also allowed employees to enjoy medical facilities.

After the privatisation of VSNL, the Tatas had embarked on an integration drive.

The company’s ILD revenues have fallen sharply as market trends dictated lower prices. The company is looking seriously at national long distance, internet services and broadband to diversify its business which is currently dependent wholly on overseas telephony.

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