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Bengaluru bus strike: Call off strike, we'll talk, else ESMA, warns Govt

By H S Shreyas

Bengaluru, July 26: The Siddarmaiah government is in no mood talk to the protesting bus unions unless they call off their strike, sources close to the Chief Minister told OneIndia on Tuesday afternoon.

Instead, the CM has called for a meeting of officials at 4 pm to decide what action to take against the striking workers if they don't call it off by then.


The CM's aide said the government was thinking of invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to get the bus drivers and conductors back to work.

The workers were on strike for a second day on Tuesday and threatened to continue with their agitation unless the government agreed to talks.

To show its resolve, the government has already given show-cause notices to trainees and probationers, who constitute nearly 20 percent of the total staff of some 1.25 lakh employees of the four road transport corporations, asking them why their services should not be terminated.

If the unions continue the strike despite ESMA, their members, too, will be terminated, the sources in the chief minister's office (CMO) said.

According to the sources, Siddaramaiah won't talk to the unions unless they call off the strike. The CM is also not keen to raise wages beyond 13 percent as doing so could spark a chain reaction, leading state government workers to demand a pay revision in line with the Centre's Seventh Pay Commission.

"The CM had on July 22 convened a meeting with the union leaders. He was present for over 35 minutes in the hall. But union leaders failed to present their point of view, with each union leader wasting time on lengthy, unnecessary speeches," the CM's aide told OneIndia.

"Vice President Hamid Ansari was visiting Mysuru that day and that was a bigger priority for the CM than listening to pointless speeches. He had to leave the meeting without resolution of the issue," he added.

The union leaders say the CM has to sit with them at least for an hour and listen to their issues. The government's threat of invoking ESMA won't work, they said. "We will not withdraw the strike even if the government invokes ESMA," one union leader said.

OneIndia News

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