Strike by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation employees enters the 10th day

Parts of the otherwise spic-and-span premises of Haritha Berm Park, a major property of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) at Bhavanipuram in Vijayawada, is reduced to heaps of garbage thanks to the indefinite strike by 80-odd employees of the Tourism Corporation.

The strike entered 10th day on Wednesday.

The conference hall, a much sought-after venue by corporate honchos who descend on this auditorium, away from the hustle-bustle of the city, to chalk out business strategies, is a monument of neglect.

Empty cruise boats move from Berm Park to the jetty that takes visitors into the island, in the hope to find visitors to ferry, in vain.

The sweet aroma that wafts from the restaurants at Haritha Berm Park and the open top restaurant in the island is missing, as the workers who dish out lip-smacking delicacies here, have joined the strike.

State general secretary of Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) R. Sudha Bhaskar, expressing solidarity with the striking employees, said following a similar strike by the workers in October last year at Araku in Visakhapatnam, the Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, had signed an agreement with the union leaders agreeing to convert all manpower agency workers into contract workers and for wage hike.

“This outsourcing has generated a panic among workers who do not have job security. All we are asking for is that these workers should be converted into contract employees,” said Mr. Bhaskar.

CITU state vice-president P. Subhash Chandra Bose alleged that employees were being terminated on some pretext or the other.

He said nearly 45 women employees, who had been working for the last 10 years, were paid a paltry Rs.3,000 per month. He said the contractor, who was given the work contract, was pocketing a huge sum every month at the cost of the welfare of these workers.

Meanwhile, one of the State secretaries of CITU A.V. Nageswara Rao, said a delegation which met Ms. Khan on Wednesday, was told categorically that the Tourism Corporation was not in a position to hike the striking workers’ salaries due to its week financial position.

She, however, asked the Executive Directors to meet the union representatives at 11 a.m. on Thursday and thrash out a solution.

Mr. Nageswara Rao said the future course of action would depend on the outcome of the scheduled talks on Thursday. “If a decision is taken against the interests of the workers and the latter intend to intensify the stir, we will support them in all possible ways,” he said.

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