TSRTC staff to go on an indefinite strike

TSRTC bus (Image Representation)

Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees' unions have announced on Friday that they will go on an indefinite strike from the midnight of Friday.

The recognized union is demanding an immediate reddressal of their demands that includes merger of the corporation with the government.
The announcement came while Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was away in New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and others. The union took the final call after the failure of the third round of meeting with the RTC management on Friday. With the news of failed talks spreading, several long distances bus drivers have returned their buses to the respective depots, leaving the passengers stranded at the bus stations.
The RTC management has put up a brave face claiming to have alternatives that includes running the buses with private drivers and retired drivers. The RTC has also requested the Road Transport Offices (RTOs) for a list of all eligible drivers of heavy passenger vehicles with a minimum of 18 months experience. However ordinary people may be put to inconvenience by the strike during the peak festival season. Dasara holidays are till 12 October. Already, buses and trains are jam packed with advance bookings.
Imposition of ESMA
The RTC management threatened to enforce provisions of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prevent the employees from participating in the strike. However the Employees' Unions’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) is not deterred.
 "In all 50,000 employees from different unions will participate in the strike. We served notice to the state government three months ago. They called us for talks now and are not ready to give us any assurances particularly on the issue of merger. AP government has already merged the RTC with the government,” said JAC chairman Ashwathama Reddy.
Another crucial demand of the TSRTC employees is to revise their pay pending since April 2017. They want fresh recruitment in the corporation and new buses to reduce the workload on the employees. The KCR government set up a three-member committee to hold talks with the employees unions and resolve the strike.

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