• RTC suffers Rs 400 crore losses due to 40-day strike so far. HC adjourns case to November 18

The stalemate over the ongoing Telangana RTC strike, which entered its 40th day, further deepened on Wednesday after the state government expressed its inability to accept the proposal of Telangana High Court. The HC had proposed the constitution of a high-power committee comprising of three former Supreme Court judges to resolve the strike. The RTC suffered losses of over Rs 400 crore at Rs 11 crore per day due to the ongoing strike since October 5.

The HC proposed on Tuesday to resolve the strike by mediating between state government, RTC management and the employees’ unions. However, the state government filed an affidavit expressing its inability to accept this proposal.

The government also urged the court to refer the matter to State Labour Commissioner. They noted that he is the appropriate adjudication authority for taking further steps in the case as per Section 10 of the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947. They also told a Division Bench of the HC that there was no such provision for the constitution of a high-power committee comprising of the former Supreme Court judges.

The state government made these remarks while arguing before the HC in a batch of Public Interest Litigations filed on the ongoing indefinite strike and issuance of 5,100 private route permits of TSRTC.

Arguing the case, the Advocate General told HC that it didn’t approach the labour court on the issue as it was hearing petitions. He also told the court that the strike was illegal as per ESMA.

In response to the pleas of the state government, the senior counsel for trade unions told HC that it had powers to constitute the committee. He added that he would place case laws on the issue as to determine whether the government’s consent was required for forming the said committee and the powers vested in the High Courts on their constitution.

Following this, the court posted the matter to November 18 for further hearing of the PILs filed on the issue.

Meanwhile, dealing with another PIL filed on the issue of the issuance of the private route permits, the Division Bench extended its earlier interim order until tomorrow. It directed the state government and RTC authorities not to take any steps in the issue until further orders. The case will come up for hearing on Thursday.

The ongoing strike by RTC workers emerged as the longest-ever strike in the history of RTC. The APSRTC was formed on January 11, 1958. The TSRTC was created on June 3, 2015, after the bifurcation of the state.

Earlier, the longest ever strike by RTC workers were observed for 24 days in 2001. Seeking enhancement of their wages, the employees went on strike for three days in July 2005 and again for two days in October 2005.

Telangana RTC workers participated in the Sakala Janula Samme and stopped work for 27 days, demanding statehood for Telangana in 2012.

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