The 24-hour strike saw workers in over 35 depots stay away from work.

Kerala RTC bus in front of Ernakulam bus depot
news Transport Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 15:16

The 24-hour strike called for by two of the three trade unions of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (Kerala RTC) has disrupted normal bus services in the state. With workers in over 35 bus depots in the state completely staying away from work, and many other depots working with only few workers, there is a major shortage of Kerala RTC bus services in the state on Tuesday.

The 24-hour strike that began at midnight on Tuesday was called for by the Transport Democratic Federation (TDF) affiliated with the Indian National Trade Union Congress and the Kerala State Transport Employees Sangh (KSTES) affiliated with the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. Their demands include salary revision, disbursal of dearness allowance, among other things.

The unions have also demanded that Kerala RTC should stay away from its reported plan to allow private companies to operate long distance bus services using contract staff.

According to Kerala RTC sources, 100 percent workers stayed away from work in 35 depots. Majority of the workers who stayed away from work are from the southern Kerala districts.

In Thiruvananthapuram district, seven depots -- Parassala, Vellarada, Kattakkada, Nedumangad, Kilimanoor, Kaniyapuram, Pappanamcode -- did not have any services. In Kollam, all workers of four depots stayed away from work -- Kottarakkara,Chathannoor, Aryankavu, Kulathupuzha.

Alappuzha district also witnessed majority of the depots having no services with workers of  Chengannur, Changanassery, Thiruvella, Alappuzha, Kayamkulam, Haripad, Mavelikara and Cherthala staying away. In Kollam, all workers of Kottarakkara, Chathannoor, Aryankavu and Kulathupuzha depots, took part in the strike.

While, in Pathanamthitta, workers of Adoor and Pathanamthitta depots fulling took part in strike, services remained partially unaffected in other depots in the district.

In central and northern Kerala districts, only in a few depots, workers fully stayed away from work. They are: Ponkunnam depot in Kottayam; Moolamattom, Kumily, Nedumkandam and Kattappana depots in Idukki; North Paravur and Aluva depots in Ernakulam;  Pudukad, Kodungallur and Mala depots in Thrissur district; Palakkad and Mannarcadu depots in Palakkad district; Malappuram and Perintalmanna depots in Malappuram district and Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady depots in Wayanad district.

Reacting to the media, many passengers expressed their distress in having to wait for hours for buses. “First I thought it is due to COVID-19 there are less buses, then after a while only I saw a board in the bus stand stating that today is a strike,” a passenger in Kozhikode told Manorama News.

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