Ahead of Dasara, trade unions of the Telangana State Road Transport and the State government have locked horns. With both refusing to budge, the fate of tens of thousands of passengers who have scheduled their travel this festival season hangs in balance.
While as many as 10 trade unions, including RTC Telangana Mazdoor Union (TMU), TSRTC Staff and Workers Federation, TSRTC Employees Union, TSRTC Bahujana Workers Union and TSRTC National Mazdoor Union joined hands, the management of the transport juggernaut issued an internal circular terming the stir as ‘illegal’.
The circular invoked the Telanaga Essential Services Maintenance Act and reiterated that the government through G.O. RT 408 issued on August 26 declared the motor transport industry as a public utility service. It also underscored that the government has also prohibited strikes by means of another G.O., which is in force since June 1, for another six months. The TSRTC management has prescribed several disciplinary measures in the circular, including reversal of promotion of permanent staff and termination contractual employees and those on probation, if they participate in the strike.
Speaking to The Hindu , E Ashwathama Reddy from the RTC TMU said that a meeting with officials has been convened by the Labour Department on October 4, only a day before the strike.
Describing the meeting as a ‘delay tactic’, he said that the onus on uninterrupted bus services is on the State government. “Are we not people? Should the government not be concerned about us also? We have asked around 51,000 workers and about 2,000 contractual employees to join the strike,” he said.
The principal demand of trade unions is the TSRTC’s merger with the State government. Apart from this, unions have pressed for payment of reimbursement and pay revision from April 1, 2017. They have also demanded that women employees be given child care holidays, while also demanding early shifts for women conductors.