Chief Minister Yediyurappa has appealed to the workers to come back to work.

Buses parked in bus stand on strike dayRepresentational image/PTI
news Transport Thursday, April 08, 2021 - 08:06

Several commuters including students were left stranded after Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees in Karnataka went on an indefinite strike under the banner of Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League on Wednesday. In Bengaluru the government tried to make alternate arrangements by roping in private transport operators, and sought deployment of more trains. Private buses, maxi cabs and other transport services were seen operating during the day.

Several commuters, especially those in rural areas and students who had to write exams, said that they had been affected. “My friend had to travel from Sedam to Kalaburagi. Without a bus service he had to borrow a bike from a person in his village to come to college. If he borrows a bike, he has to pay for petrol,” said an engineering student from Kalaburagi.

According to the Transport Commissioner office, a total of 145 BMTC buses were operated on Wednesday, along with 1124 private buses and around 2000 maxicabs. However, reports surfaced of autos, private buses and maxicabs charging exorbitant fares.

"I appeal to them (private operators) not to charge exorbitantly taking advantage of the situation...we will not allow it," said Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa according to PTI.

He added, "We have fulfilled eight of their (workers) nine demands. Despite this, they are adamant and have stopped buses, and are creating trouble for the public. I appeal to them, to get back to work, so we can talk." 

To this, the unions responded saying that they had provided a 20-day advance notice for the strike and blamed the government.

“I apologise to the people for the inconvenience caused. But what people should know is that we have been serving the people for so long and all we ask for in return is fair wages. We had given a notice 20 days prior (to the strike), but the government has refused to give what they had promised. What are supposed to do now?” asked Chandrashekhar, an employee of KSRTC and president of Karnataka Saarige Naukarara Sangha.

The RTC employees have demanded for the recommendation of the sixth pay commission to be implemented, which would increase their wages. The Karnataka government had agreed for an 8% increase in salary as an interim relief. However, the government said that it cannot be implemented immediately as the model code of conduct is in place and a letter has been sent to the Election Commission seeking permission.

Transport Minister Laxman Savadi appealed to employees to get back to work saying income has completely stopped. "It will be difficult to pay salaries in the days to come. As long as you continue the strike, it will harm you," he told protesting workers. 

(With agency inputs)

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