The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) Joint Action Committee (JAC) on Tuesday evening has announced to continue with their strike after taking opinions from workers from all bus depots in the state.
As the high court, on November 18, ordered the state’s labour commissioner and the labour court to decide on the legitimacy of the strike, the workers’ leaders from across the state held meetings at different locations in Hyderabad and stated that the majority of the workers have agreed to take the strike forward.
Meanwhile, on the 46th day of the relentless strike by the transport workers, 52 -year-old Shaik Yakub Pasha, who has been working as a driver for the last 30 years in Narsampet depot of Warangal Rural District, died of a heart attack. His family members told local media that he was worried over losing his job, as the state government has not even called the striking workers for any negotiation. With Pasha’s demise, the death toll of striking workers has reached 24. Of them, several committed suicide by hanging themselves, consuming poison, while others died of panic and heart attack.
Speaking to the press, JAC convenor Aswathama Reddy said that the workers’ unions will meet opposition parties on Wednesday and announce the action plan. He also questioned the adamant behavior of CM K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) for not calling them for negotiations on their demands—although they have put aside their main demand of merger of TSRTC with state government.
The workers’ demands include revision of salaries, better working hours, allowances for female workers and retired employees.
Before transferring the case to the labour court, the high court suggested that state government act like a ‘model employer’ and address the issues of the workers.
Even as the strike has hit the normalcy in the state causing shortage of public transport, students organisations, other employees’ unions, civil society and opposition parties have shown solidarity to the protesting workers and participated in the protest demonstrations. As the transport workers were not even provided with their salaries for September (last month before the strike), the workers are said to be facing financial difficulties. However, political parties and common people have led fund collection drives to help the needful workers.
While the strike began on October 5, the next day, CM KCR had stated that the strike is illegal and all the 49,000 workers who participated in it are ‘self-dismissed’. Later, the CM had given the workers a deadline to rejoin the workforce by November 5. However, only some 350 workers joined, as the government had not called them even for any negotiations.