Telangana RTC workers stopped from joining duties

Hyderabad: Hundreds of employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) were arrested across Telangana on Tuesday to prevent them from joining duties after 52-day-long strike.

Protests rocked TSRTC depots as the management refused to take back employees who reported to duties following the decision of their Joint Action Committee (JAC) to call off the strike.

Prohibitory orders were enforced around the depots and security was beefed up to prevent any untoward incident.

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The employees were told by the depot managers that they have not received instructions from the government for taking them back. They resorted to protests and raised slogans of aCM down down’ and awe want justice’. Police took them into custody.

Protests were witnessed at depots in Hyderabad and 32 other districts

JAC had Monday announced calling off their strike and asked the employees to resume work from Tuesday. However, the management of the state-owned transport body refused to take back the employees until the Labour Commissioner takes a decision on their strike as directed by Telangana High Court.

ATSRTC Managing Director Sunil Sharma said the decision by the employees, who were on illegal strike, was legally not tenable and asked them to wait till the Labour Commissioner completes the process.

Sunil Sharma said the employees can’t go on strike and come back on duty whenever they like.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao held a review meeting with Transport Minister P. Ajay and senior officials to review the situation in the wake of latest developments. They understood to have discussed the issues to be discussed in the state cabinet meeting scheduled on Thursday.

According to Chief Ministera¿s Office, the cabinet meeting will begin at 2 p.m. on Thursday and there is a possibility of it being extended to Friday. It said the meeting will discuss at length the measures to be taken to end the RTC impasse.

In a related development, Congress MPs from Telangana on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention into RTC issue. The MPs led by Uttam Kumar Reddy, who is also party’s state president, met Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi and handed him a representation to the Prime Minister.

They alleged that the adamant attitude of the state government has caused distress among thousands of RTC employees.

Nearly 50,000 employees were on strike since October 5 to press for various demands including the demand to merge TSRTC with the government. About 1,500 employees later return to duty in response to the appeal by the chief minister.

The longest strike in the history of RTC in the Telugu states saw suicide of five employees while some others died of depression.

JAC leaders alleged that the adamant stand by the government led to death of 25 employees. TSRTC has not paid salaries to the employees for September and October, causing distress to thousands of employees.

The chief minister not only rejected all the demands of the employees but claimed that they dismissed themselves by abstaining from work illegally.

In a move further angering the employees, the government announced privatization of 5,100 TSRTC routes. The High Court last week dismissed a petition challenging the government’s decision.

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