TSRTC’s striking employees call off strike but can’t resume work unless HC orders

Highlights

  • It is neither defeat of employees nor victory of govt, says Ashwathama Reddy
  • TSRTC: Workers cannot be taken back on duties until the process as suggested by HC is completed
  • TSRTC requires Rs 240 cr for September salary

Hyderabad: Ending a record strike period of 52 days, JAC of TSRTC employees on Monday announced the withdrawal of the strike. JAC convener Ashwathama Reddy said that RTC employees would report to duty at 6 am on Tuesday. He requested the temporary drivers and conductors not to continue their work as the strike has been called off.

“We have called off the strike, which continued for 52 days. Despite the longest strike in the history of RTC, we didn’t get any assurance from the Telangana government. However, the High Court transferred the case to Labour Court. Honouring the HC directive, considering the plight of employees and inconvenience to passengers, we have decided to withdraw from the strike. All our employees will report to their duty from 6 am on Tuesday. I also ask those who’re working temporarily not to come to duty. If the government doesn’t accept, then we’ll continue our strike,” said Ashwathama Reddy.

As per Section 10 B, when the case is with Labour Court, the continuing strike is not advisable, opined a senior leader of JAC. “Of course, we’re not fired or dismissed. We have not received any terminating letter as well. After 52 days, we called it off. That’s it. Now, after withdrawing from the strike, we’ll report back to duty,” said the JAC leader.

But, putting a spoke in their wheel, the Managing director of TSRTC has refused to take back the employees cites HC orders. TSRTC on Monday come out with a statement saying, workers who were on ‘illegal’ strike cannot be taken back. Calling RTC JAC’s statement on joining for duties from tomorrow as ‘ridiculous’, TSRTC management announced that “Till the process as suggested by the High Court is completed, workers who are on illegal strike cannot be taken back on duties. Nowhere in any Public Sector Undertaking in the country, workers and employees abstaining from duties and joining their duties at their whims and fancies will happen nor it can be accepted.”

The managing director of TSRTC also appealed to the formerly striking employees to not create law and order issues. “We request the workers who are on an illegal strike not to obstruct the temporary drivers and conductors from attending to their duties. CC cameras will be installed at all the RTC Depots and the situation will be monitored…We once again request the RTC workers and employees to exercise restraint till the Labour Commissioner takes a decision on the matter as suggested by the High Court,” the statement said. 

The Chief Minister, when TSRTC JAC offered to call off strike, said that the road transport corporation requires Rs 640 crore to run as it is. “TSRTC is not in a position to run the normal operations. On the other hand, the state government can’t bear the burden owing to the economic recession. How long can the government continue to support TSRTC? The only option we have is to hike bus fare. If we hike fares, passengers may not prefer RTC buses. Immediately, TSRTC has to pay dues of Rs 2,000 crore. It has a Rs 5,000-crore debt load. TSRTC needs to replace as many as 2,600 old buses,” said KCR.

Dasari Sreenivasa Rao

Dasari Sreenivasa Rao is a freelance journalist with 26 years of mainstream media experience in Hyderabad and Dubai. He was Business Editor at The Pioneer and Spl Correspondent at Deccan Chronicle and The Hans India. Earlier, he worked for prestigious media brands including ToI, Indian Express (Bombay) and SPG Media and Business Standard in Hyderabad. NSE-qualified Dasari specializes in derivatives trading. He was visiting faculty at IGNOU and handled two batches of journalism students. Dasari is passionate about business journalism and always suggests all to practice rigorous meditation that ensures peace of mind and helps in moving up the value chain.

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