Telangana CM Sacks 48,000 Transport Corporation Employees, Calls Their Strike ‘Unpardonable Crime'
Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) sacked nearly 48,000 employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) who were on an indefinite strike since Friday midnight. The CM has called their protest as an ‘unpardonable crime’ and ruled out any possibility of any negotiation.
The TSRTC employees demand merger of the RTC with the government and recruitment to various posts, among other 26 listed demands. In the past, the unions have made similar calls for a strike, but it always resulted in a compromise.
As the state-wide strike entered its fourth day on October 8, CM KCR refused to hold any talks with the striking employees. He also ruled out the possibility of a merger even though the CM promised otherwise during the Telangana statehood agitation.
The CM on Sunday declared that there is no question of taking back the employees into the state-owned transport utility, who did not join the duties before the deadline, i.e. 6 pm on Saturday evening.
“Now only 1,200 employees left in TSRTC,” a statement from Chief Minister’s Office. Though the government has not made any such formal announcement, it, however, means that the government has sacked remaining 48,000 odd employees. The unions have said that they will challenge the order as and when they get the suspension notices.
Lakhs of civilians commute through the TSRTC buses every day. For a third consecutive day majority of 10,500 buses of TSTRC remained off the roads, causing dire inconvenience to commuters during the festive season. TSRTC authorities were thus, running partial services by deploying hired buses and temporary drivers. The CM has asked officials to recruit employees and hire more private buses.
Demands Of TSRTC Employees
The unions on strike share a common viewpoint that promises made by Rao, to the employees before Telangana attained statehood have not been fulfilled. Allegations are made that not only has he forgotten the promises made to the RTC employees, but after coming to power in 2014, The CM has chosen to neglect the corporation altogether.
The foremost demand of the unions is that the state government repay pending dues to the RTC for special services extended to the state government, reported The News Minute. The employees also want the state to scrap the Motor Vehicles tax, help reduce the burden of diesel costs, allocate 1 per cent of the state budget for the TSRTC to strengthen the corporation and release the budget for the corporation on time.
One of the major demands of the TSRTC employees (then part of the APSRTC) to have wages at par with that of central government employees is still unfulfilled. Besides, they seek a hike in their salary, job security and maternity benefits for women, among other things.
KCR’s Redressal Mechanism
Since only 1200 RTC employees showed up for work on Sunday, CM intends to fill the ‘vacant posts now’. KCR’s move of appointing a committee to develop a public-private partnership model to operate TSRTC further agitated the unions. They dared the CM that issuing any order sacking them would force them to knock the doors of the Court.
Presently, the unions, appear to be firm on their demands and have received backing from opposition parties like the Congress and BJP.