Condemn the undemocratic attitude of TelanganaGovt on the dismissal of 50000 RTC employees

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Condemn the undemocratic attitude of Telangana State government

Support the strike of TSRTC workers on just demands.

About 50,000 workers (including bus drivers, conductors and administrative staff) have been on strike for the last six days to achieve their just demands and the state government is handling the crisis in public transport in a vindictive and undemocratic fashion. We, the concerned citizens, would like to bring the salient issues of the strike and the government attitude to the notice of the people at large to seek your solidarity with the strike and to request you to demand the government to mend its ways.

The strike is, in fact, an attempt to protect public transport in the state. Though the charter consists of 26 demands, major demands of the striking workers are not concerned with their financial benefits and they pertain to reviving the ailing public sector public transport corporation. The strikers are demanding the government to make TSRTC as one of its departments, instead of keeping it as a corporation. Indeed, this is the promise given by the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao during the Telangana movement and he repeated it several times. He also promised to provide parity to the RTC staff with the government employees in terms of wages. Even after six years of his governance, neither the RTC was merged with the government, nor the salaries of the RTC staff made equivalent to government employees. As on today, an RTC employee gets Rs 20,000 less salary than his counterpart in the government.

The other demands include, regular payment of dues of the government to the corporation (the government had to pay Rs 2.822 crore to RTC during 2014-19 and paid only Rs 638 crore), purchase of new buses to increase the fleet of the corporation (during the last five years not even a single bus was included), extension of services to rural areas (even after Telangana formation there are more than 1,000 villages without bus connectivity), exemption of taxes on diesel (while the neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments are taking responsibility of price rise as well as tax on diesel Telangana government is throwing that burden on the corporation, driving it into losses), better working conditions (indefinite working hours, arbitrary suspension and removal of drivers and conductors, unbearable work pressure, etc.), and recruitment commensurate with the need (there has been no recruitment and more and more areas are being outsourced).

A Joint Action Committee of various trade unions in TSRTC have given strike notice well in advance, as per the law and have gone into a strike from October 5, 2019. The government that did not take any meaningful, positive action before the strike, came out with a vindictive, brutal and undemocratic statement on the strike day. The Chief Minister himself said all the employees will be terminated if they do not join by the evening of the strike day and it will be considered as “self-dismissal”. With a single pen stroke, he announced that about 48,000 employees are dismissed. He even directed RTC Hospital and other government hospitals not to provide medicare to striking workers and their families. He also said new recruitment will take place with an undertaking from the new employees not to form unions. This is against the Constitution of India and all existing labour laws in the country.  The government has also stopped payment of salaries for the last month, which the workers are legally entitled. Consequently, the families of the workers have been undergoing untold suffering that led to an attempt to suicide by many workers. Two workers, a driver and a conductor have succumbed to the attempt. Even then the government is brutally indifferent.  

Unperturbed with this vindictive attitude, the workers are still continuing the strike and it is the bounden duty of every freedom-loving, democratic-minded person to support the strike, express solidarity with the striking workers as well as to condemn the government’s attitude and demand the government to initiate the process of an amicable resolution of the crisis.   

Please support the strike of TSRTC workers to meet their demands.