Lucknow: Contractual workers employed with the state-owned Lucknow city bus service, one of the lifelines in the capital of Uttar Pradesh, have threatened to go on strike pending salaries are not released forthwith. The union has given a notice to the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) stating that if the contractual workers are not paid their pending salaries along with regularisation of their jobs and increased salary within two days, they will launch 'chakka jam' (work boycott) agitation from Sunday.
The decision to boycott work by about 1,000 contractual workers, who are angry about not getting salaries during the ongoing festival season, is likely to be taken on Sunday morning, sources said.
Contractual workers, posted in Gomti Nagar and Dubagga, have not received salaries for September and October. The workers have warned that if their salary is not released till Sunday, November 1, bus services will be hit at a time when festival celebrations are going on.
“We have not got salaries for September and October. Despite approaching the Lucknow City Transport Services Limited Management for dues, it is still pending,” contractual workers' union president Raj Kamal Singh told NewsClick, adding that many times they got assurances from RK Mandal, Managing Director, Lucknow City Transport Services, but nothing has been done so far. "We will protest ahead of Diwali (mid-November) and bring buses to a halt, affecting celebrations, if our demands are not met,” he said.
"During Diwali, we were expecting that the state government will give bonus to its employees. But to our utter dismay, the state government did not give even our salaries," Singh added.
The contractual workers said they had last got wages for August. About Rs 90 lakh a month is required to pay pending salaries to about a 1,000 workers.
However, Mandal, said contractual workers' salary for September and October was outstanding. "A letter in this regard was written by contractual workers' union to the ARM of Dubuga depot. We want to make assure that by next week, the salary of the contract workers is disbursed,” he added.
On job regularisation, Gufran, a contractual worker, said: "Contractual employees have been working for the past several years but have not been regularised." Workers also said that drivers and conductors were being paid a meagre amount of Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 per month as salaries.
Earlier strikes for demands including minimum wages to contract workers were called off based on various assurances. However, as none of the promises were kept, the roadways have decided to launch a strike from November 1.
Among the major demands are implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission from January 2016, filling up of all vacant posts, ending of illegal services by private buses, purchase of at least 1,000 new buses and a minimum salary of Rs 18,000 for each driver hired through any agency. Provision of medical facilities to all employees on the roll and dearness allowance arrears since 2002 is still pending, the union said.