Telangana RTC strike: Unions want govt to hold talks

TSRTC Employees unions' leader Aswathama Reddy addresses the media after a hearing in High Court on RTC Strike, in Hyderabad. (PTI Photo)

A day after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao set November 5 as the deadline for TSRTC workers to give up their stir and join duty, the employees' unions on Sunday insisted that the Telangana government first hold talks to resolve the issue.

With the indefinite strike over a slew of demands entering the 30th day, TSRTC-JAC leader E Ashwathama Reddy said the Chief Minister could not instil confidence among workers, rather he was "trying to provoke" them.

"Talks should first be held to resolve the issue. It could be a committee of ministers or RTC management... but Chief Minister is seeking to dictate terms to courts and taking unilateral decisions. Nobody has the right to remove anyone from jobs," Reddy told reporters here.

Rao had on Saturday said the state cabinet decided to allot 5,100 of 10,400 routes to private operators and warned that the other routes would also be given to them if those on strike don't join duty by the midnight of November 5.

"If 5,100 routes are privatised, then 27,000 staff are required. Why did he (Rao) not talk about the remaining 23,000 staff? What will be the future of those 23,000 people? If the number of depots is halved from 90 to 45, what will be the fate of depot managers?" Reddy asked.

Expressing willingness to wind up the unions if their demands were conceded, Reddy said, "first discuss on demands should be held."

Reacting to CM's statement, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said Rao was acting hastily on the RTC issue. The state government should hold parleys with drivers and conductors, who hail from poor families and arrive at a solution.

"The government should not treat employees as enemies or anti-government.RTC is a public service organisation," the Union Minister said adding it was not good to adopt a "vindictive" attitude towards employees.

In a related development, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar on Sunday appealed to all RTC employees who are willing to join duty that their safety and security would be taken care of. Adequate security has been provided to all depots, he said and warned of action against anyone who takes law into their hands.

On Sunday, the protesting employees held demonstrations at different places and raised slogans against the government. The leader of the Join Action Committee of RTC unions had on Saturday said they were planning to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to seek Centre's intervention into the issue.

Employees and unions of the bus corporation started the indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana demanding merger of the RTC with the government and recruitment to various posts, among others

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