RTC staff to go on strike

Published on May 05, 2015 03:40:40 AM
The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation is heading towards another crisis with trade unions threatening to stop bus services from Tuesday midnight if the government fails to take up the revision of salary. They demand salary on par with other State government employees. The employees/workers have been demanding the revision of salary with 43 per cent fitment on par with other government employees.

The recognised unions had earlier served a strike notice on the management and to RTC MD N Sambasiva Rao threatening to go on strike from April 16. It was averted following amicable talks between trade unions, the management and the labour commissioner. If workers go on strike, then this would be the last strike in the undivided corporation as the biggest corporation in Asia is set to be separated into Telangana Corporation and AP Corporation from May 14.

The unions argued that they had to face a huge loss in the earlier pay revision and were left behind when compared to other government employees. The unions said that they had to lose 19 per cent fitment during the earlier PRC. Keeping in view the 43 per cent fitment offered by the Telangana government, which was also replicated by the AP government, the RTC employees have raised a demand for similar hike in their salaries, said a union leader.

The recognised union, Employees Union, general secretary P Damodar said that workers are firm on going for a strike from midnight of May 5. He said that there would be no further negotiations as workers want 43 per cent fitment. He said that unions would announce the decision on going for a strike at a press conference on Tuesday. Earlier, the unions had served several strike notices and went on for strikes.

The employees have been serving strike notices on the management on several issues, including those which the corporation had nothing to do. Firstly, the Telangana employees had taken part in the 28 days strike as part of Sakalajanula Samme during the Telangana agitation resulting in a loss of over Rs 417 crore. Secondly, the corporation had to suffer losses of over Rs 899 crore with the 60-day strike after Congress Working Committee took a decision to bifurcate the state into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

As and when the corporation started to improve revenues, one or the other issue has been worrying the RTC. Last year, the then RTC MD J Purnachandra Rao went on record to say that strikes in the first half of the year 2014 had a severe impact on the corporation. The corporation suffered a loss of Rs 417 crore in Telangana and Rs 899 crore in Andhra Pradesh.

The corporation has over 1.34 lakh employees and about over 69,000 are from Andhra Pradesh.
The trade unions gave a strike notice on various issues in favour of bifurcation and against bifurcation, credit cooperative society funds, 43 per cent fitment and regularisation of contract employees. Ironically, the striking employees got salary advances and other benefits while commuters were made to suffer with a hike in the fares.

The trade unions gave a strike notice in August 2014 demanding the government to bail them out of financial crisis. Earlier, in March 2014, the unions served notice demanding 27 per cent interim relief to the employees.  In February 2014, the Seemandhra employees served strike notice against bifurcation of the state. During August 2011, Telangana employees served and went on strike.

When the diesel prices were coming down in January this year, commuters did not get benefitted as the management washed off its hands stating that the corporation was suffering Rs 3 crore loss every day and if diesel prices remain stagnant for another six months, the losses would be reduced to Rs 1.5 crore per day.
Higher officials said that if the management accepts the demand of the employees, then there is no other option but to effect a steep increase in the hike of fares.