Labour Department prohibits bus strike; employees remain unmoved

People arriving at Kempe Gowda bus station in Bengaluru have to depend on private vehicles to reach their destination in view of the strike by RTC employees.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The government’s tough stand on road transport corporation (RTC) employees has had little effect on the ongoing indefinite bus strike, which looks set to enter the fourth day. The Labour Department on Friday prohibited the strike with “immediate effect” under Section 10 (3) of Industrial Dispute Act, 1947.

In an order, it stated that the Labour Commissioner had submitted a report noting that employees representing the Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League resorted to the strike even after negotiations with the managements of the RTCs had begun. The department has also referred the industrial dispute case to a Labour court.

However, R. Chandrashekar, president of the league, dismissed the order as a “routine process”. He told The Hindu that the indefinite strike would go on. “We have decided to continue our protests till our demands are met. On Saturday, our leaders will hold a meeting at Belagavi to decide on the future course of action.”

Meanwhile, the State government has warned of taking strict action against those creating problems for employees reporting back to duty. Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who also holds Transport portfolio, said protection would be given to those employees who were not participating in the strike.

More buses on roads

RTCs claimed that they were able to operate more buses on Friday when compared with the previous days. On Thursday, the corporations managed to run 456 buses. On Friday, operations crossed over 885 buses.

The police escorting a Mangaluru-bound KSRTC bus in Bengaluru on Friday.

The police escorting a Mangaluru-bound KSRTC bus in Bengaluru on Friday.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The KSRTC is also planning to use the services of candidates who had appeared for driver and driver-cum-conductor recruitment process and secured over 40 marks but could not get a job in the corporation.

On Friday, South Western Railway decided to increase the frequency of trains operated between KSR Bengaluru and Mysuru . The MEMU trains (numbers 06255/06256 and 06257/06258) will be operated on all days as against six days in a week earlier. The decision has been taken in the wake of the bus strike and Ugadi festivities.

CM’s appeal

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa once again appealed to employees to return to work. During this difficult time of the pandemic, the State government had spent ₹2,300 crore to pay the salaries of the staff and they should realise that, he said while addressing the media on Friday. He reiterated that a pay revision on a par with the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations was not possible. “I am requesting road transport employees with folded hands to report back to duty and stop being stubborn,” he said.

He added that 85% of revenue generated goes towards salaries of government employees, pensions, and other non-planned expenses, and only 15% was available for projects.

Many transferred

The KSRTC on Friday transferred 244 drivers and conductors, five traffic supervisory staff, 34 mechanical staff, and nine other staff for instigating their employees to go on a strike and threatening those who are reporting back to duty. Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation dismissed 120 trainee and probationary employees for not reporting to duty. On Thursday, it had dismissed 96 trainee employees.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:05:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/labour-department-prohibits-bus-strike-employees-remain-unmoved/article34286233.ece

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