Bengaluru, Jan 24, 2023: About 5,000 employees of the four Road Transport Corporations (RTCs) in Karnataka will hold a day-long protest on Tuesday seeking higher pay and better work conditions.
The protest will be held from from 11 am to 5.30 pm at Freedom Park in Bengaluru, outside the NWKRTC central office in Hubballi and the KKRTC central office in Kalaburagi and in front of 32 divisional offices elsewhere in the state. Bus services, however, won’t be affected because it’s not a strike, said the Joint Action Committee of the Trade Unions of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporations, which is composed of six employees’ unions.
While the KSRTC and the BMTC released statements to assure the public that bus services would not be interrupted, they are alleged to have warned employees against taking part in the protest and said the protesters would lose the day’s wages.
On Monday, the Joint Action Committee released a list of 14 demands and accused the state government of ignoring employees’ concerns.
The four RTCS - KSRTC, BMTC, NWKRTC and KKRTC - have a headcount of 1.7 lakh. Of them, only 5,000 will hit the streets, including 500 in Bengaluru, said H V Anantha Subbarao of the KSRTC Staff Workers’ Federation, which is part of the Joint Action Committee. Subbarao said the protest was aimed at making the government listen to the employees’ demands, not inconvenience the public. "But we are capable of hitting the streets and sending the buses to depots if the government doesn’t listen," he told DH.
Their key demand is pay revision, which he said hadn’t happened since January 1, 2020. Other demands include filling the existing 16,000 vacancies, providing better healthcare and reinstating overtime and other allowances.
RTC employees went on strike in April 2021, disrupting bus services across the state. While government assurances and a looming Covid wave eventually broke the strike, employees accused the authorities of reneging on their promises and sacking the strikers. The RTCs are gradually reinstating the employees who took part in the protest but Subbarao accused the government of not fulfilling the wage revision promise and trying to divide the employees.
Courtesy: Deccan Herald