Contractual employees of Punjab Roadways, PRTC launch indefinite strike
Around 8,000 contractual employees of the state-owned Punjab Roadways and Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) on Monday went on an indefinite strike, demanding regularization of their jobs. Private buses, however, continued to ply in the state. "More than 2,000 buses of the state-owned Punjab Roadways and PRTC stayed off roads," said Punjab Roadways, Punbus/PRTC Contract Workers Union President Resham Singh Gill.
Only 200 to 300 buses will ply on road: Gill
Gill said that only 200 to 300 buses operated by regular employees would ply on the streets. The indefinite strike call caused inconvenience to many passengers who usually travel on state-owned buses. Protesting employees held demonstrations at many places and raised slogans against the state government for not acceding to their long-pending demands.
They threatened to lay siege to CM's residence on Tuesday
They also threatened to lay siege to the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at Siswan in Mohali on Tuesday if their demands were not accepted. Gill said that in July and August, they were assured that their demand for regularization would be met. "Despite two cabinet meetings having been held since then, the issues continue to remain unresolved," he added.
They are demanding an increase in fleet size of buses
"The apathetic attitude of the state government toward our demands forced us to go on strike," Gill said. Besides regularization of jobs, the protesters are also demanding an increase in the fleet size from around 2,500 buses at present to at least 10,000.
'Government promised in 2017 that services will be regularized'
Inderjit Singh, a member of the outsourced and contractual employees action committee told the Hindustan Times, "The government had assured to bring a policy for regularization of the services in 2017 but has failed to fulfill the promise till date." "The employees are being exploited as they have no choice but to work on meager wages," he said.
Other demands put forward by the group
Sehajpal Singh, another member of the committee told Hindustan Times, "We are also demanding a stringent check on the transport mafia, implementation of equal work and equal salary and stopping unnecessary harassment of employees on the pretext of day-to-day reports."