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Karnataka Road Transport Workers’ Strike to Continue

Government claims talks on Sunday were “successful” even as unions demand another round of talks.
Karnataka Road Transport Workers’ Strike to Continue

Image Courtesy: Times of India

Bengaluru: Striking road transport corporations (RTCs) workers in Karnataka on Sunday said they will continue with their agitation, shortly after the government announced that an agreement has been reached between both sides to resume bus services, as it has conceded to most of their demands.

With the public transport buses not operating for the third day, the government held a series of meetings on Sunday with representatives of workers union, at the end of which it came across that talks have been fruitful, but it was short lived, as union representatives announced that they will continue with strike.

Soon after negotiations ended on Sunday evening, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi in the presence of workers union representatives told reporters, "the strike that had been going on for three days has come to end. We have spoken to members of the trade union, those who had announced strike, both sides have come to agreement."

Listing out the demands that the government has agreed to, in response to a question about workers' demand to be treated as government employees, he said there are 30-40 corporations with a similar demand, and it has been clearly communicated to them that it cannot be done.

Workers union representative Chandru, too, flanked by Savadi, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Revenue Minister R Ashoka thanking the Ministers said they are of the feeling that their demands have been met to an extent and he would announce the decision regarding the strike at the venue where workers are protesting.

"... it (announcement) will be positive... negotiations have been held in a cordial way," he said, stating that the government has also agreed to positively look into their demand to be treated as government employees, even as Savadi standing next to him did not concur with it.

Minutes later on reaching the protest venue, Chandru said the government should call for another round of talks, and called upon workers not to start operating buses in a hurry.

"... don't hurry, let’s see if there is another round of talks," he said.

His appeal to RTC workers came amid reports about buses resuming operation in some parts of the state, following the government's announcement about talks being successful.

Farmers' leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, who has now emerged as the leader of the RTC workers announced, "our agitation will continue tomorrow (Monday) and this information has to reach every corner of the state."

He even claimed that private bus operator's union leaders have also come in their support and have decided not to operate private buses on Monday.

This even as the government was exploring the option of deploying private bus operators to see to that hardship faced by commuters is minimised until the issue is resolved.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in a statement said though the employees association leaders agreed in the meeting and said they would announce the same in the Freedom Park, they are “creating unnecessary confusion, by joining hands with Kodihalli Chandrashekhar (farmer leader and president Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha)”.

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