TSRTC strike: Anxiety all around as November 5 deadline expires at midnight

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on November 05, 2019

A file photo of a bus depot in Hyderabad. Employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, led by the Telangana Mazdoor Union, began an indefinite strike on October 5 Nagara Gopal

Employees assertive; Telangana Govt sticks to its decision

Fifty-year-old Susheela (name changed) anxiously waits for her husband, a road transport corporation (RTC) conductor, to return from a day-long meeting that discussed the November 5 deadline set by the State Government for the striking employees to resume work.

“What’s the outcome? What have they decided? ” asks the wife on seeing her husband.

“It (strike) is on,” he replies. Susheela’s response was not difficult to fathom.

Read more: TSRTC staff unlikely to end strike

“Will he sack us?” an employee asked his neighbour in the packed Sundarayya Vigna Kendram auditorium, where members of Telangana Mazdoor Union gathered to discuss the deadline.

With the deadline only a few hours away, anxious family members of the 50,000 employees wait with bated breath on what will happen to their jobs.

People in Telangana in general, and the family members of TSRTC employees in particular, wait anxiously as the government deadline for the staff to report back to duty expires midnight tonight. Besides terminating their services, the government has threatened to privatise about 5,000 routes if the staff fail to resume work.

While there were only a few takers for the government’s offer, majority of the 50,000 employees have decided to go ahead with the month-long strike. The State Government too is not in a mood to budge. “If they don’t end the strike and report to work, they will lose (their) jobs. We will privatise at least 5,000 routes. Telangana would become an RTC-less State,” a top government official said.

Also read: TSRTC strike-KCR sets November 5 deadline for workers to rejoin duty

“We have decided not to take back on duty those RTC employees and workers who fail to report to duty by Tuesday midnight. The government is of the firm view that a good opportunity is given to the employees to salvage the crisis. It is up to them to protect their jobs or lose their jobs,” he said.

Despite a direction by the High Court, talks between the two sides have not started. Even as the court hears a couple of petitions on the strike, the K Chandrashekar Rao Government has set a ‘final’ deadline of November 5 for the staff to give up the strike and report to work.

This, however, has failed to deter the employees. At the hurriedly-convened meetings by different unions, employees asserted that there was no going back.

On the sidelines of the meetings, some employees are seen perturbed and seemingly worried on the future of their jobs and the corporation post November 5.

“The Labour Department had already declared the strike as Illegal and it submitted a report to the government. There is no question of taking any worker or employee back to duty after Tuesday midnight,” he warned.

Published on November 05, 2019

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