As the stalemate between agitating employees of the four road transport corporations (RTCs) and the Karnataka government continued for the fourth day, Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi on Saturday said that the opposition Congress was behind the strike. In a statement released by his office, Savadi, who holds the transport portfolio, said that a farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar â€” who has no connection with transport employees in any way â€” leading the strike points that the â€śstrings of these protests are controlled by someone.â€ť
He stated that employees of transport corporations are gullible and they have been misled by leaders like Chandrashekhar, who in turn is helping the Congress party. "It is a very clear case that all employees are aware of one thing â€” that they received salaries despite buses not being operated last year, when a pandemic broke out and due to which it was prolonged lockdown. There was no optimal workload on anyone despite this, the government paid their salaries without any deduction. They were able to lead a normal life in a year when the pandemic had disrupted everything," he said.
He added that the employees must listen to their conscience instead of listening to leaders who are being controlled by someone else.
"Already commuters are the worst sufferers who are cursing everyone. This should stop. Let employees agree to accept an eight per cent hike in their salaries instead of demanding implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, which is not at all possible," he reiterated.
The RTC strike began on April 7 with the employeesâ€™ wage related issue and they had demanded the implementation of the sixth pay commissionâ€™s recommendation. The strike included most of the employees belonging to all the four Road Transport Corporations (RTCs) of Karnataka - Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC).
On Friday, the Karnataka government had banned the strike by the RTCs citing the inconvenience caused to the public and that the strike is against the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act.