Striking workers have said the threat to invoke ESMA won't work

We will not call off the bus strike unions
news Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 15:47

A handful of buses are operating in different parts of Bengaluru and also the outskirts, but union leaders say they haven’t called off the strike.

Around 3 pm on Tuesday, the second day of the strike, a handful of buses are plying on the roads, with police presence. These include major bus depots such as Shantinagar, Majestic (Kempegowda), Shivajinagar, and Satellite Bus Depot. The government has asked trainee drivers to operate the buses.

A member of the All India Trade Union Centre V Manjunath told The News Minute that the unions had not called off the strike.

“The man they’re showing on TV (on the Shantinagar-Majestic route) is a Class 2 employee. He’s a divisional mechanical engineer with the West division of the BMTC. They’ve got a handful of buses plying but there are 23,000 vehicles (all transport corporations combined),” he claimed.

He said that the government had employed similar tactics in 2012 when the unions had called a major strike. “They had threatened to terminate all the trainees. But they didn’t do it. Our people scare easily,” Manjunath said.

The government had threatened to invoke the ESMA if the strike is not called off. “Let them invoke ESMA. We will not call it off. They haven’t called us for negotiations either yesterday or today,” Manjunath said.

The Cabinet is scheduled to meet at 4 pm on Tuesday and discuss the demands put forward by the workers.

A total of 1.25 lakh workers of all four transport corporations have struck work under the banner of a joint committee of unions. Schools were given a holiday on Monday and Tuesday.

Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy told reporters in Koppal that there would be no holiday for school children on Wednesday.

The 44 demands of the striking workers include a diverse range of issues comprising working conditions and amenities for workers, wages, implementation of labour laws, medical coverage, and a salary hike.