Telangana: KCR terms transport strike a "crime", sacks 48,000 employeesLast updated on Oct 07, 2019, 04:28 pm
A strike called by the transport department in Telangana took a sensational turn when Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao sacked approximately 48,000 employees on Sunday.
KCR had called the agitation during the festive season an "unpardonable crime" and asked employees to resume duties by 6 pm yesterday.
Those who failed to adhere to the deadline were dismissed, said reports.
Here's what happened.
Why was the strike called? What were their demands?
Since Friday, thousands of employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) went on an indefinite strike, called by Joint Action Committee (JAC).
TSRTC demanded its merger with the state government, after the loss-making Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) joined the Andhra Pradesh government, earlier this month.
The merger would make them government employees, and hence eligible for more benefits.
They also wanted better working conditions and revised salaries
Besides the merger, the employees have other demands like salary revision and better working conditions.
The body also wanted vacancies to be closed soon as in absence of new joinees, the existing employees were forced to do "double duty".
Apparently, not one new employee was inducted in the last five years. They put forward a list of 26 demands, but the government didn't flinch.
Naturally, normal life was thrown out of gear
Throughout Saturday and Sunday, a large number of buses stayed off roads affecting over one crore people who use 10,400 buses.
Though the government hired private drivers, residents suffered as they charged high rates.
"No tickets are being issued as Depot managers and supervisors are also on strike. Private conductors are charging exorbitant amount and there is no accountability," a person told NDTV.
No negotiations with them: KCR said yesterday
Late on Sunday evening, KCR held a high-level meeting and announced there would be no negotiations with those on strike.
"It is an unpardonable crime that they went on a strike during the festive season and at a time when the TSRTC was incurring a huge loss of Rs. 1,200 crore and its debt burden had gone up to Rs. 5,000 crore," he said.
There will be new hirings, but with conditions
Saying indiscipline won't be tolerated, KCR added, "Now, the RTC is left with 1,200 employees. We shall soon start the recruitment process for making fresh appointments. But the new recruits will have to give an undertaking that they would not join any unions."
He also directed officials to ensure normalcy is restored within 15 days and added that RTC should "earn profits".
Slamming KCR, BJP asked him to recall the brazen decision
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party has lent its support to the sacked employees.
"KCR has not even met the RTC JAC leaders even once, before taking such brazen decisions. Instead of trying to resolve the issues and demands of the RTC employees across the table, KCR has acted irresponsibly," the saffron party said in a statement, and asked him to withdraw the "thoughtless decision".