Bengaluru, July 25: The bus strike in Bengaluru and across the state has forced schools and colleges to be shut down and hardship to millions of commuters, but union leaders of the four road transport corporations say they were compelled to go on strike after repeated attempts to get Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to listen to their issues had fallen on deaf ears.
If the government is serious about not inconveniencing commuters, they could even call for a midnight meeting and end the stalemate on Tuesday, Chandre Gowda, treasurer of the KSRTC staff and workers' federation has said, even suggesting that the unions were willing to settle for a lower hike than the 35 percent raise they had demanded.
Speaking to OneIndia, Gowda said CM Siddaramiah's reluctance to sit with them and reason it out had forced them to go on strike.
"The percentage of wage hike is secondary. What is important is that the CM lend his ear to our problems. He can call us for a meeting tonight and end the strike", Gowda said.
Notices warning of a strike and three letters to the government between November last and April this year asking for talks with the bus unions did not elicit a single response, union leaders alleged.
Instead, the managing directors of the four state road corporations had tried to convince the unions that the 35 percent hike they were demanding would cripple the corporations. They proposed an eight percent hike, which the state cabinet approved unilaterally on July 2, said Chandre Gowda.
The CM finally agreed to meet the joint committee of the bus unions on July 22, but left the meeting after only 10 minutes, saying he had another meeting in Mysuru.
The Labour Commissioner called a meeting with the unions for the next day, but failed to turn up for it. These slights had forced the unions to go on strike, Gowda said.