The joint council of trade unions in Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has given a call for an indefinite strike from January 17, raising their demands. More than 40,000 workers are employed by the KSRTC – the backbone of Kerala’s transport system.
KSRTC employees have been raising various demands, including salary revision in a time-bound basis and payment of dearness allowance arrears. The trade unions have also demanded that the workers who have been terminated from work should be hired back. Except for the RSS-affiliated BMS, all other unions will take part in the strike.
“In the meeting, the minister had assured that they would act on a few of our demands including solution on unscientific issues seen in the revision of single-duty system. It was also decided that in December, the government will hold a meeting to discuss the salary revision issue. However, no action was taken so far,” said TR Subramanian of KSRTC Employees’ Association, which is affiliated to Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
“Also, we have submitted a proposal to increase the daily collection. But it has not been considered so far,” he added.
The unions have also raised a set of issues in KSRTC. Subramanian alleged that arbitrary transfers are taking place in the department. “There are cases that people who have only been employed for three months, have got transferred to the remote locations. There were cases of women who have been on pregnancy leave, but now are not allowed to be back in service,” he said.
In the strike notice that was being served, the trade unions said that even after a High Court order to appoint the conductors after filling the vacancies through Public Service Commission (PSC) posts, no steps were taken by the management.
On December 6, Kerala High Court had ordered to retrench the empanelled workers within a week to give way for the candidates who had secured advice memo from PSC.
“As per the May 5, 2013 Rank List, openings have been reported to the PSC. Hence empanelled conductors cannot continue in their job. Action should be taken within one week or else it will be treated as contempt of court,” the court had said in its order. Shortly after the court order, as many as 3,861 empanelled conductors were dismissed.
Earlier also, the trade unions had given a strike call which was scheduled for October 3. The unions, however, called off the indefinite strike following a meeting convened by Transport Minister A K Saseendran and Labour Minister T P Ramakrishnan on September 30. Though the issues were discussed during the meeting, their demands are yet to met.
The CMD of KSRTC, Tomin Thachankary, convened a meeting on Wednesday morning with representatives of trade unions that have given the strike notice. The talks held between the CMD and unions, however, failed to reach a consensus, said sources.