Almost 90 per cent of Kerala RTC services, including long-distance, were disrupted after a section of employees at the transport corporation went on a strike today. More than 30 depots completely stopped their service in the strike led by INTUC and BMS, demanding pay revision.
Earlier, a meeting was convened between KSRTC MD Biju Prabhakar and the representatives of employees’ unions on the matter. However, the discussion failed and a section of employees went on strike.
The protest was organised by the Indian National Trade Union Congress-affiliated Transport Democratic Federation (TDF) and the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh-affiliated Kerala State Transport Employees Sangh (KSTES). Most of the long-distance services were cancelled from Monday evening since the strike began at 12 last night. However, unions said that the buses would not be blocked and the strike would be peaceful.
According to reports, TDF working president R Sasidharan said that the notice informing the strike was issued on February 8, but the government was not ready for talks. “The KSRTC-SWIFT project will destroy the corporation. Meanwhile, the employees have been drawing salaries based in 2012 base and the management is not even willing to initiate preliminary talks on wage revision,” he said.
The employees’ unions have been constantly demanding the withdrawal of the decision to introduce KSRTC-SWIFT, an independent company to operate long-distance buses using contract staff, revision of salary, disbursal of nine instalments of Dearness Allowance, government takeover of pension liability, the revival of the dying-in-harness scheme, and an end to punitive transfers. However, the talks failed to arrive at any decision on these demands.