Karnataka

KSRTC shifts lanes to avoid hiring women conductors

A conductor on duty in Kozhikode.

A conductor on duty in Kozhikode.

Kerala’s State Road Transport Corporation, KSRTC, is in low gear on the question of hiring women as conductors: only those who are also ready to do the job of drivers can enter the service, it has decided.

The Corporation does not want to treat conductors and drivers as separate categories and wants just one classification — conductor-cum-driver.

The management is seen as trying to save the financially-stressed public utility, but critics say it will deny women opportunities.

With a fleet of 6,300-plus buses, KSRTC struggles to pay salaries and pensions and has heavy debt. Informed sources said the board’s decision, taken on June 17, seeks to dispense with the separate categories of drivers and conductors and bring down the overall staff strength. This would also make more drivers available, especially for long routes.

The decision has been kept under wraps fearing a backlash from trade unions, employees and women’s organisations.

The KSRTC has 15,830 conductors, including 4,190 working on temporary basis, and 15,149 drivers, including 1,470 casual hands. There are around 4,000 women conductors who are at work mostly during the day.

New hands wait

The decision comes at a time when the Kerala Public Service Commission has issued advice memos to 4,000 candidates selected as conductors. They have not been given a posting because KSRTC says it does not have sufficient vacancies. An earlier attempt to have the driver-cum-conductor system in long-distance luxury buses, with support from recognised trade unions, failed to take off.


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 1:50:42 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ksrtc-shifts-lanes-to-avoid-hiring-women-conductors/article19136915.ece