Karnataka’s three-day bus strike has been called off following an agreement between the state government and the joint committee of workers’ unions.
On Wednesday afternoon, buses began to ply on the roads to the relief of both workers as well as stranded commuters. Lakhs of people in Bengaluru alone use buses to commute.
Though the bus strike has been called off, a bandh has been called by various farmers' unions on the Mahadayi water issue. Schools and colleges across the state are likely to remain closed on Thursday owing to the bandh.
The government has agreed to a wage hike of 12.5% on the basic pay. The government has agreed to not take strict action against the workers.
Six unions had come together to organize the indefinite strike which began on Monday. About 1.25 lakh workers employed by the four state-run transport corporations had refused to work, putting forward a list of 44 demands, one of which was a wage hike.
General Secretary of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions S Varalakshmi told The News Minute that in the past 16 years, the salaries of the workers had only risen by 25%, but the cost of living had risen exponentially. “That’s why this time the protest is so strong.”
She said the transport corporation employees’ wages are revised once every four years, and each time the hike is negotiated with the workers through the unions. “The period of the last wage hike ended las December. The new revised wages should have been implemented from January this year,” Varalaskhmi said.
The demands of the workers include implementation of working rules. “For the past 10 years, the drivers and conductors have something called bar duty. If they report for duty at 7 am, then sign out at 8 pm the following day. They are also expected to show up for work the next morning at 8 am,” said HV Manjunath, who is with the All India Trade Union Congress.