RTC employees strike in Karnataka enters third day, bus services hit

PTI | Bengaluru | Updated: 09-04-2021 13:33 IST | Created: 09-04-2021 13:26 IST
RTC employees strike in Karnataka enters third day, bus services hit
Representative image Image Credit: Piqsels

Bus services were hit in Karnataka for the third consecutive day on Friday, as the stalemate between the employees of the road transport corporations, who are on an indefinite strike on wage-related issues, and the state government continued.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa appealed to the employees to resume work, even as he made it clear that implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission report was not possible.

Also ruling out any talks, he asked employees not to be stubborn under someone's influence, and understand the financial difficulties of the government in the given situation.

''I request the transport workers with folded hands don't be stubborn under someone's influence. Last year, despite COVID-related issues when your corporations didn't have money to pay your salary, we have paid your salary to you by utilizing Rs 2,300 crore from the government's exchequer,'' Yediyurappa told reporters here.

With the government on Thursday evening reiterating that it was not possible to fulfill their demand for the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission report, RTC employees decided to continue with the strike.

As employees belonging to all the four transport corporations did not attend duty, buses continued to remain off the roads across the state, including Bengaluru, affecting daily commuters.

Passengers traveling to and from distant areas and office-goers were the most affected.

Private buses, minibusses, maxi cabs, and other passenger transport vehicles were seen providing services to stranded passengers in different parts of the city and the state.

However, the number of passengers using private buses continued to remain scarce in the city, as people were using their own vehicles or were seen using cabs, Metro, and auto-rickshaws, especially in the city areas, private operators said.

Metro has increased the frequency of its services between 7 AM and 9 PM.

Amid threats of ESMA and ''no work no pay'', very few RTC workers have returned to work and buses are said to be operating on some routes in the city along with police escort, sources said, adding there are similar reports from few other places in the state.

The Chief Minister pointed out that 85 percent of the government's revenue is spent on salary for government employees, various kinds of pensions, and other non-plan expenditures, and only 15 percent is available for developmental works.

''...in such a situation, transport workers should not be stubborn, we have fulfilled 8 of your nine demands. If there are any issues with those eight demands, rectifying it and seeing to it that you get its benefits is our responsibility and I will do it,'' he said and asked them to cooperate and get back to work.

Noting that the Transport department is for the service of the people, the Chief Minister asked employees to think whether it is fair to remain stubborn when people are facing difficulty.

''Understand the financial situation of the government and cooperate by resuming bus services in the public interest,'' he said, as he clarified that the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission report for RTC workers was not possible for any reason, in the given situation.

Transport Department Principal Secretary Anjum Parvez on Thursday had said as a temporary arrangement, employees who have retired in the last two years have been requested to come back to service.

''They should be physically fit, medical and eye tests will be done.'' Also requesting employees to return to work, as the government has fulfilled eight of their nine demands and has decided for an eight percent salary increase as an interim relief, he had said the per day lost because of the strike is about Rs 20 crore.

RTCs that have been warning employees about continuing with the strike, have started taking action against trainee employees and are issuing notice for absence from work.

As employees belonging to all the four transport corporations did not attend duty, buses continued to remain off the roads across the state, including Bengaluru, affecting daily commuters.

Authorities have roped in private buses, minibusses, maxi cabs, and other passenger transport vehicles to manage the crisis and help commuters.

Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League which is spearheading the strike has been maintaining that the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission report was their primary demand and it has to be considered, until then they will continue their strike.

Responding to a question as to whether he will call for talks, Yediyurappa asked ''whom should I talk to? Through you (media) publicly I'm requesting.'' ''... nothing is remaining for talks. What is there to talk about after fulfilling eight out of nine demands. I'm not stubborn. As eight demands are fulfilled employees should come back and resume bus services, they should not fall prey listening to some people,'' he added.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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