Angry over the alleged highhandedness of the officials of the Kerala-based company, managing the City Bus Service project, the drivers and conductors refused to ply all the 41 buses for over five hours on Tuesday, causing huge inconvenience to the commuters.
The buses did not come on road at 7:15 am, their scheduled time, as the drivers and conductors went on a strike to register their protest. The protesting staff members parked the buses outside the transport office at Mall Mandi.
The strike was held under the banner of CTU, Punjab. The protesting staff members said earlier the management refused to give them a hearing and even threatened to take the help of police to end the strike.
The protest was later lifted on the intervention of the police, which assured the protesters of accepting their demands. It was only after 12:20 pm that the buses started plying on roads.
Sardool Singh, a conductor working for City Bus Service, said the strike was called off after the company removed the official, who had been dealing with the staff highhandedly.
"He (company official) was very rude to a conductor, which caused resentment among the staff, resulting in the strike. He has been removed and sent somewhere else," he said.
Their demands are now being overseen by a Punjabi official. "The official from Kerala was often rude to the drivers and conductors. We had demanded to be overseen by a Punjabi official," said Rinku, another protester.
Another demand was that of the display of route plan in the buses and fare exemption to employees of the police department and other government transport employees.
"The management had been forcing the employees to charge tickets from police personnel and other government transport staff but never displayed the rules in buses," said Jarmanjit Singh Bath of CTU, Punjab.
He said the staff was subjected to harassment in the form of foul language and was some were sacked after a few days.
Baldev Singh, president, CTU, Punjab, said the management earlier refused to give a hearing to the protesting staff tried to intimidate them to withdraw the strike.
"Later it was resolved in the presence of DSP Parampal Singh that none of the officials of the company would misbehave with the staff and that on-duty employees would be given regular duties," he said.
"He (company official) was very rude to a conductor, which caused resentment among the staff, resulting in the strike. He has been removed."
Sardool Singh, conductor, City Bus Service