KSRTC-SWIFT fails to enthuse unions

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation management’s efforts to win over the three recognised trade unions — Indian National Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh — in the undertaking to float KSRTC-SWIFT, a legally independent company for plying long-distance buses under the proposed Restructure 2.0., did not succeed.

But, Chairman and Managing Director Biju Prabhakar got the nod of the Chief Minister to go ahead with the initiatives. The CMD, who was at the receiving end for the remarks against employees, was also asked by the Chief Minister to avoid controversial statements.

At the talks Mr. Prabhakar had with the unions on Monday at Transport Bhavan, the INTUC-affiliated Transport Democratic Federation (TDF) and the BMS-affiliated Kerala State Transport Employees Sangh (KSTES) opposed the formation of the new company, with headquarters at the Anayara KSRTC depot here, to secure funds from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).

The CITU-affiliated Kerala State Road Transport Employees Association neither supported or opposed the move. Its leaders pointed out that the KSRTC would be confined to paper once long-distance, CNG, LNG, electric, JnNURM, Scania, and Volvo buses were handed over to the new entity.

The TDF’s suggestion of using the Kerala Urban Transport Corporation based in Kochi for securing funds did not succeed. The move to float the company at the fag end of the government’s tenure was aimed at finding placements on contract basis in KSRTC-SWIFT, TDF leaders said.

The unions raised concerns over handing over KSRTC land on lease to KIIFB and others and move to reduce the bus-staff ratio from 1:2.75 to 1:8 and introduce a voluntary retirement scheme.

The CMD told the union leaders that KIIFB would infuse funds only if KSRTC-SWIFT was formed. The proposal to lease out prime land such as the Vikas Bhavan depot to KIIFB was based on government policy. “The KSRTC land at Ernakulam and Kayamkulam will also be leased,” the CMD said.

As there was no consensus at the meeting, Mr. Prabhakar told the leaders that their views would be communicated to the government. R. Sasidharan and K. Gopakumar of the TDF, C.K. Harikrishnan and Gopalakrishnan of the KSRTEA, and K.L. Rajesh of the KSTES attended the meeting.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 12:03:22 AM |

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