52-Day-old Transport Impasse Ends in Telangana as Workers Resume Work, KCR to Meet Them on Dec 1

Hyderabad: Employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) resumed their duties on Friday after a prolonged deadlock over their strike. The workmen turned up at their respective bus depots since morning.

Meanwhile, a press statement from Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s office said he would meet with the employees on December 1 to discuss all issues concerning the corporation and the way forward.

Rao, who is also known as KCR, has instructed that five members, including two women, from each of the 97 bus depots across the state should be invited for the meeting on December 1, the release said. The Chief Minister will discuss threadbare all the issues related to the TSRTC,” it said.

Rao is said to have asked TSRTC Managing Director Sunil Sharma to make arrangements for the employees to come to Hyderabad from their depots. “The chief minister will have lunch with the workers and explain to them the situation of the corporation,” the CMO said.

According to sources, the government will take a final decision on privatisation of routes, voluntary retirement scheme and other related issues after the meeting.

On Thursday, Rao announced that the corporation employees, who stayed away from work for 52 days, can resume duties thereby bringing the prolonged impasse in TSRTC to a close. “We are thankful to the chief minister. We fought for weeks and hope he would do justice,” said a conductor, Veeresham Putti.

The employees had kept off work from October 5 and called it off on November 25, but the TSRTC management initially did not allow them to rejoin duty, stating that the labour commissioner would take a decision on the matter prolonging the impasse. The TSRTC management had also said the strike was illegal.

Speaking after a meeting of the state cabinet on Thursday, Rao, while announcing the government’s decision to allow RTC workmen to rejoin duties, said his government wanted the survival of the corporation and the welfare of employees.

Expressing his displeasure with employee unions in the TSRTC, Rao has said he would convene a meeting with the workmen soon to discuss the way forward for the loss-making corporation.

About 48,000 TSRTC employees, who began their strike on October 5, withdrew their stir on Monday last though they did not get any positive response from either the RTC management or state government on their demands.

The strike was withdrawn to halt and face alleged attempts to privatise the corporation, the employee union’s leader, Aswathama Reddy, said on Monday.

The government and the TSRTC management adopted a tough stance on the strike by the employees, saying it was illegal. Though it held talks with the workmen once, there was no agreement between the two sides on the agenda for talks.

The TSRTC management had, on Monday, said the employees cannot be allowed for work, though they called off the strike, as the labour commissioner would take a call on the strike.

The employees had begun their strike with various demands, including merger of the corporation with the government and recruitment to various posts. However, they subsequently announced they were ready to set aside their demand for merger of the corporation with government.

The government had said the TSRTC is not in a position to accept the demands of the employees as it has been making losses.

Meanwhile, the TSRTC management has withdrawn all facilities given to representatives of recognised unions. “We are not worried about such measures. We will make our representation to the labour commissioner. The CM wants to suppress the unions,” said Reddy.

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