Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday gave a “happy ending” to the 52-day long strike observed by TSRTC employees. Addressing a press conference at Pragathi Bhavan, after the cabinet meeting held on Thursday, the CM announced to take back all RTC employees “unconditionally”.

The CM also announced an increase in bus ticket fares by 20 paise per kilometre across all RTC bus services to mobilise funds for the financially ailing corporation. The increased tariffs will come into effect from Monday. KCR stated that the RTC would earn over Rs 800 crore per year thanks to the hike. The CM also announced Rs 100 crore for RTC to pay salaries for the personnel, who has not received their salary since September.

Over 48,000 RTC staff went on an indefinite strike since October 5. They called off their strike after 52 days on November 25. The government declared their strike “illegal” and announced that 48,000 staff lost their jobs due to their participation in the illegal strike. Though the CM gave three opportunities for the employees to rejoin duties, the personnel ignored and continued the protest.

When RTC unions announced the withdrawal of the strike on November 25 and their return to duty from November 26, the government refused to take them back. The latter said that the matter is under the purview of the Labour Court and everyone has to wait until the Court gives its verdict.

Though several petitions were filed in the High Court over the issue, the Court dismissed all the appeals and referred the matter to the Labour Court last week. In between, KCR announced to privatise RTC and the cabinet even approved 5,100 RTC routes for the privatisation.

However, all these decisions have been kept on hold now. KCR took a “dramatic decision” today, restoring the jobs of the striking staff “unconditionally”. He even promised to give a job to a family member of any RTC staff that died during the strike. Over 30 deaths were reported across the state during the strike.

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