Don't be stubborn, get back to work, CM Yediyurappa to striking KSRTC workers
Bengaluru, Apr 9: Bus services were hit in Karnataka for the third consecutive day on Friday, as the stalemate continued with employees of the road transport corporations, who are on an indefinite strike on wage related issues, and the state government sticking to their stand.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa appealed to employees to resume work, even as he made it clear that it was not possible to meet their demand for wages as per the 6th Pay Commission.
Also ruling out any talks, he asked employees not to be stubborn under someone''s influence, and understand the financial difficulties of the government in the given situation.
"I request the transport workers with folded hands don''t be stubborn under someone''s influence.Last year, despite COVID related issues when your corporations didn''t have money to pay your salary, we have paid it by utilising Rs 2,300 crore from the government''s exchequer," Yediyurappa told reporters here.
"Understand the financial situation of the government and cooperate by resuming the bus services in the public interest," he said. The chief minister clarified that the implementation of the sixth pay commission report for RTC workers was not possible in the given situation.
With the government reiterating its stand, RTC employees decided to continue with the strike on Saturday as well.
Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, honorary president of the Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League, said the strike will continue for the fourth day on Saturday.
He also urged the Chief Minister to hear them.
On Friday, as employees belonging to all the four transport corporations did not attend duty, buses continued to remain off the roads across the state, including Bengaluru, affecting daily commuters.
Passengers travelling to and from distant areas and office-goers were the most affected.
Private buses, mini buses, maxi cabs and other passenger transport vehicles, whom authorities have roped in to manage the crisis and help commuters, were seen providing services to stranded passengers in different parts of the city and the state.
However, the number of passengers using private buses continued to remain scarce in the city, as people were using their own vehicles or were seen using cabs, metro and auto rickshaws, especially in the city areas, private operators said.
Metro has increased the frequency of its services between 7 AM and 9 PM.
Amid threats of ESMA and "no work no pay", some RTC workers have returned to work and buses are said to be operating on some routes in the city along with police escort, sources said, adding there are similar reports from few other places in the state.
The Chief Minister said 85 per cent of the government''s revenue is spent on salary for government employees, various kinds of pensions and other non-plan expenditure, and only 15 per cent is available for developmental works.
"In such a situation, transport workers should not be stubborn, we have fulfilled 8 of your nine demands. If there are any issues with those eight demands, rectifying it and seeing to it that you get its benefits is our responsibility and I will do it," he said and asked them to cooperate and get back to work. Noting that the Transport department was for the the people''s service, the chief minister asked employees to think whether it is fair to remain stubborn when people are facing difficulty.
He claimed many employees were now ready to get back to work voluntarily, as he assured them security.
RTCs, which has been warning employees about continuing with the strike, have started taking action against trainee employees and are issuing notice for absence from work.
Responding to a question as to whether he will call for talks, Yediyurappa asked "whom should I talk to? Through you (media) publicly I''m requesting." "...there is nothing remaining for talks. What is there to talk after fulfilling eight out of nine demands. I''m not stubborn.
As eight demands are fulfilled employees should come back and resume bus services, they should not fall prey listening to some people," he added.
On his part, Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said the strike will continue indefinitely till the government understands the employees'' justified demand.
He also urged the employees and their families to stage a protest at district and taluk centres in front of Deputy Commissioner or Tahsildar offices on April 12, against the government's stand.