A large number of staff, including drivers and conductors, attached to Yeshwanthpur Depot (Depot 26) of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), went on a snap strike on Monday alleging harassment at workplace and corruption by depot officials.

Services were affected for two hours. The trigger is said to be the depot manager's refusal to grant leave for some drivers and conductors who had been demanding it for a long time. The manager later reportedly abused the crew in filthy language, and the latter picketed the depot gate.

Others join in

Soon, the mechanical and other staff of the depot joined the strike, halting bus operations at the depot, which has about 1,200 employees and 211 buses.

A driver who said he didn't want his name published blamed Depot Manager Muttaiah and Assistant Works Superintendent Javalingaiah for all the state of affairs.

He alleged that the two had continuously been harassing the staff who had a long list of complaints against them.

The charges include refusal to grant rightful leave, forced extension of duty hours even after completion of the shift, non-payment of overtime allowance and demanding money for allotting routes and buses.

They also accused them of denigrating the staff, depriving them of dignity, and of ill-treating women workers.

“We have seen several depot managers before who we felt were one of us as they responded humanely to our problems,” a member of the staff said. Many attributed the strike to creation of administrative divisions in the BMTC, which they said “decentralised harassment and corruption”.

Peacemakers

The agitating staff were mollified after Director (Technical) S.K. Paramesh and Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) M.P. Prabhudas arrived. Divisional Traffic Officer (North) V. Nagaraj played a crucial role in peacemaking, the staff said.

KSRTC Staff and Workers' Federation General Secretary H.V. Ananthasubba Rao said the strike was an inevitable fallout of “continuous harassment by the management”.

He alleged that the corporation was steeped in corruption, and the rot started at the very top at the government level, percolating all the way down.

It was high time the Government invited the workers' federation for dialogue to discuss labour-related issues, he added.

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