Irked by what they call ‘gross indifference’ of the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) management, agitating manpower agency workers and daily wage workers of the Corporation have set Monday as deadline for achievement of their long-pending demands.
“We have put forth our main demands and set Monday as the deadline for the management to concede them. If it continues to be adamant, we will intensify the stir from Tuesday,” said M. Janardhan Reddy, Chairman of Andhra Pradesh State Public Sector Employees’ Federation.
The strike has continued for over a month, but the management has stuck to its guns resulting in failure of the several rounds of talks held between representatives of the workers’ unions and the APTDC officials.
The indefinite strike launched by manpower agency workers and daily wage workers by the Tourism Corporation management is in support of two main demands: Salary enhancement for outsourced employees and their conversion into contract employees.
“Lack of cooperation among workers has adversely affected the cause. A few contract workers who initially joined the strike expressing their solidarity with the agitators, pulled out later for fear of losing their jobs. Of the total 1100-odd employees across the State, only 600 have been participating in the protest. This has further strengthened the management’s position,” rued Mr. Reddy.
Mr. Reddy, along with Miryalaguda MLA Julakanthi Ranga Reddy and MLCs M.V.S. Sarma and Subramanyam, met the Special Chief Secretary of the Tourism Corporation Chandana Khan but nothing much came out of the meeting. “We have asked her to constitute a committee to look into the demands of the employees. She wants the employees to first withdraw the strike and at a later stage, she says, she would consider a salary hike. Her contention that the agitating workers are not APTDC employees is ‘painful’. The Tourism Corporation is the principle employer of the workers and it cannot shirk its responsibility of their welfare,” Mr. Reddy argued.
Ms. Chandana Kahn’s latest decision to take back only ‘eligible’ workers in duty has further annoyed the union leaders. “This is nothing but victimisation of the workers. We want uniform justice for all,” he said.
Five days have elapsed and there is no response from the management. “We are left with no other option but to chalk out our future course of action and intensify the stir,” said Mr. Reddy.