Meeting their basic demand is not possible in the given situation: official

The indefinite strike by manpower agency workers of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) seeking their conversion into direct contract workers and flat rejection of their demand by the Tourism officials has led to a logjam.

The strike entered 12th day on Friday, partially disrupting services in APTDC properties across the State. A meeting of a delegation of leaders of various workers’ unions with the executive director of the Tourism Corporation on Thursday failed to break the ice.

While the union leaders insisted that the management should convert the manpower agency workers into contract workers, the latter categorically denied citing financial constraints.

“The conversion process involved only minimal expenditure incurred on stamp paper. As far as salary hike is concerned, we are ready to wait for the next few months. We have given all options to the management but it is adamant on not conceding our demand,” said A.V. Nageswara Rao, president of the Andhra Pradesh State Government Contract and Outsourcing Employees Federation.

“There are issues like the agencies employing these workers are not prompt in making PF and ESI payments depriving the workers of medical facilities. Moreover, it is a long-pending issue and we have been fighting for it since 2009,” said Mr. Rao.

Meanwhile, APTDC Executive Director, Projects, V. Madhusudan maintained that it is not the appropriate time to go for a strike. “Meeting their basic demand is not possible in the given situation. Moreover, the department policy also does not permit this,” he clarified.

A few contract workers, who had joined the strike in support of the protesters, had expressed their willingness to join duty after they were issued termination orders.

“It is true that the manpower agency workers have been working for the corporation for many years, but they are technically not our employees. This is the peak season for Tourism Department and the strike is unjust,” said Mr. Madhusudan, adding that orders had been issued to terminate the protesting workers and replace them with new employees if the situation persisted.

Colossal loss

The corporation’s Divisional Manager J. Raghupathi Rao said that operations at APTDC properties were not fully disrupted. “We are incurring a 25 per cent loss which amounts to Rs.25,000- Rs.30,000 per day,” he said.

Many workers employed by the Tourism Corporation across the State may lose jobs if they do not compromise on their demands.

More In: Vijayawada