TSRTC Employees have listed 26 demands including the merger of TSRTC with the state government
About 47,000 employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) have gone on strike since October. It has been more than half-a-month and there hasn’t been any resolution in sight.
What the Union is looking for?
Employees of TSRTC have listed 26 demands including the merger of TSRTC with the state government. The merger will make them eligible for many benefits and perks. Benefits like an allocation of 1% of the state budget to TSRTC and reimbursements of government dues to TSRTC can be availed by TSRTC employees. Some other demands include job security for drivers and conductors and immediate reimbursement of salary hike which is due since 1st April 2017.
Ashwathama Reddy, TSRTC Union Leader said that employees are also on strike because they felt that TSRTC will be privatized by the government. Reddy also said that employees fear that the corporation will be handed to P V Krishna Reddy (MD of Megha Engineering and Infrastructure LTD) by the Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. P V Krishna’s MEIL is executing some works under the Kaleswaram irrigation project in Telangana. These speculations started when MEIL acquired a controlling stake in Olectra Greentech (makes electric vehicles) last August. Olectra Greentech runs currently runs 40 electric buses in Hyderabad to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. The employees of TSRTC unions fear that more routes would be privatized and given to MEIL.
What Government is doing to stop the strike?
Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao has said that he will not negotiate with the unions over their demands. Interestingly, TSRCTC unions supported the CM during the statehood movement.
Transport Minister, P Ajay Kumar said that his party never promised or assured that TSRTC will be merged with the state government. Salary will be hiked at an appropriate time. There was no urge of Unions to go on strike at the time of Dussehra as it caused lots of problems to people in the festive season.
Dussehra is one of the most important festivals in Telangana where about lakhs of people travel to their homes in the state. The government was informed by the Unions about the strike 10 days before but the government ignored it saying that they won’t be blackmailed. A CMO official said that there was no need for strike especially during the festive time and as a warning to strike proposal, September salaries were not credited into TSRCTC employee’s account.
Temporary drivers have been hired in the absence of TSRCTC regular employees. They are being paid Rs 2,000 for 8 hours of duty. But buses are being run only on certain routes, and for short distances. Dussehra holidays were extended to October 19 and school buses were impounded in some routes. However, striking staff are not allowing buses to leave depots by Squatting at the entrance of the gates.
What led to strike?
A TSRCTC driver, Srinivas Reddy immolated himself because he wasn’t able to pay his EMI or afford household expenses. It is also said that he was not getting salaries on time. He died in Hospital last few days ago. After this a conductor, Surender Goud hanged himself at his Hyderabad home. These suicides led to the strike.
TRS party has attributed every suicide and immolation during the statehood movement between 2009 to 2013. Now, the party is silent on the suicides of two TSRCTC employees.
TSRCTC are organizing “vanta varpu”, cookings on the roads to remind the TRS and KCR what they had earlier done during the statehood agitation. The “vanta varpu” is also organized to bring transport to a halt once again.
KCR has said that around 47,000 TSRCTC staffs cease to be employees after they failed to rejoin the duty before 6 pm of October 3. Although, the government hasn’t sent out dismissal or suspension notices to them. KCR, during a review meeting, said that they are deemed as dismissed and cease to be employees. TSRCTC unions are planning to approach courts if new recruits are hired in their place.
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