KCR toughens stand on RTC strike as deadline nears

Freedom Press Bureau

Hyderabad, Nov 4: The Telangana government here on Monday said it would not take back any striking employee of the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) after the expiry of November 5 deadline, while agitating employees ruled out joining duties without the government meeting their demands.
With just a day left for the deadline to end and only a handful of employees rejoining duties since the cabinet’s decision on Saturday, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Monday reviewed the situation.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office, it was decided not to take back any employee who fail to report to duty by Tuesday midnight.
Stating that employees were given a good opportunity, the government said it was up to them to protect their jobs or put their families to hardships.
If the employees didn’t join the duties before expiry of the deadline, private buses would be given permits on the remaining 5,000 routes and then there would be no entity called RTC in the state, the government said.
The cabinet on Saturday decided to give permits to private operators to run buses on 5,100 routes.
Monday’s meeting discussed the strategy in the backdrop of strike, which entered 31st day, and the high court hearing of the case. Advice from the experts was taken while labour laws and the central government’s Motor Vehicle Act were examined.
The meeting felt the RTC union was misleading workers citing the high court hearing of the case. “According to legal experts, the high court has not given any directives on the strike to the government. There is nothing the court can do. If the court verdict is contrary, having come this far on the matter, both the RTC and the government would move the Supreme Court,” it said.
Over 48,000 RTC employees are on strike since October 5 to press for their 26 demands, including the RTC’s merger with the government.
Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) said there was no question of employees returning to work without the government meeting demands. JAC convenor Ashwathama Reddy said despite KCR’s deadline, employees had not returned to work. Of the 11 employees who joined the duties on Sunday, five came back on Monday.
JAC leaders said they were ready to call off the strike provided the government held talks with them on their demands.

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