Karnataka: Indefinite bus strike from Sept 13 to impact all

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Bangalore, Sept 12: Office-goers and techies who rely on public transport in Karnataka have some unpleasant news as KSRTC and BMTC's employees are all set to go on an indefinite strike, starting on Thursday, Sept 13. [UPDATE: 1.10 lac K'taka transport workers to go on indefinite strike]

With a number of trade unions expressing solidarity for the strike, there are high chances that the strike will paralyse bus services in the state, especially Bangalore. Officials, however, hope that the strike call by employees fail, with hectic last minute discussions on to solve the crisis.

Employees of five different unions are offering their support to the bus strike and are protesting against the management's decision on wage revision without due consultation with the concerned parties. The matter has almost sparked off a strike but was stalled after last minute pacifying.

HV Anantha Subburao, spokesperson of the unions have been quoted as saying, "We have been demanding that the management consult us before deciding wage revisions for a number of years now. In April, we were forced to call an indefinite strike after being pushed to the wall, but we withdrew the strike after the management agreed to our demands. This wage revision (announced in August, without consultation) is a breach of our trust and confidence."

He added, "The Industrial Dispute Act mandates that wage revisions be held after consulting employee representatives. If we are at the brink of protests today, it is entirely the management's fault, considering that they did not keep their word."

Another KSRTC spokesperson also commented on the crisis situation, "Our employees get the highest salaries in south India. Employees have to understand that the KSRTC is a self-sustained organisation. With the 10% hike, we are incurring an expenditure of 880 crore. Four years ago, the increase in salary was about 6%. We have met with the employees quite a few times. They have to understand that we cannot simply give them whatever they are demanding. We have our restrictions. The reason KSRTC and BMTC have seen success today is because of the work of the drivers and conductors. While we appreciate this, we hope they will not let us down."

A senior official stated on the strike call, "We do not know how many people will be taking part in the protest. We have at least 70,000- 80,000 drivers and conductors. Even if 10% of them decide to join the protest, it can have an effect on our services. We hope it does not come to that."

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