KCR govt dismisses 48,000 state transport employees
The employees have been demanding, among other things, merger of the RTC with the state government as was done in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where they are being treated as government employees with their retirement age being enhanced to 60 years.Updated: Oct 07, 2019 00:45 IST
The Telangana government on Sunday dismissed over 48,000 employees of the state Road Transport Corporation (RTC) for going on an indefinite strike since Saturday.
Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who held a high-level meeting of state transport department officials late on Sunday evening, announced that the RTC now has only 1,200 employees. He said that they include those who did not join the strike and others who returned to their duties before 6 pm on Saturday, the deadline government had fixed for the RTC unions to call off their strike.
As many as 49,340 RTC employees and workers have been on strike following a call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of RTC employees and workers’ unions since the early hours of Saturday.
The employees have been demanding, among other things, merger of the RTC with the state government as was done in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where they are being treated as government employees with their retirement age being enhanced to 60 years.
They are also demanding revision of their salaries pending since April 2017. They want fresh recruitment in the corporation to reduce the workload on the employees.
According to a press release from Rao’s officer after the high-level meeting, the chief minister said all the employees, who had not returned to the duties by Saturday evening, were deemed to have lost their jobs.
“There is no question of holding any negotiations with the removed employees and taking them back into the duties. They have committed a major crime by resorting to strike at a time when the RTC was incurring a loss of Rs 1,200 crore and facing a debt burden of Rs 5,000 crore, besides suffering from ever-increasing diesel prices. Moreover, striking the work during the festive season is an unpardonable crime,” he said.
Rao ruled out RTC’s merger with the state government. “We are not going to succumb to any blackmailing by the employees’ unions. We do not allow any sort of indiscipline…”
Rao announced the government would start the exercise soon to recruit new staff and the process would be completed at the earliest. “The new recruits would have to work on probation for certain period and they should give an undertaking that they would not join any employees’ unions,” he said.
He called it a new chapter in RTC’s history and indicated partial privatisation of public transport. He said private bus operators would be brought into the RTC to work as a public-private partnership. “Hereafter, half of the RTC fleet would be private buses…”
Rao has ordered that 2,500 buses be taken on lease and permissions be given to 4,114 private buses to support the public transport. He directed the authorities to restore normalcy within 15 days.