Karnataka road transport corporation employees continue strike as govt refuses to meet demands

Published : April 10, 2021 17:56 IST

Passengers arriving at the Kempegowda bus station in Bengaluru are dependent on private buses, cabs and autorickshaws to reach their destinations, owing to the strike by employees of the State road transport corporations. Photo: MURALI KUMAR K.

The strike by employees of the four road transport corporations (RTCs) in Karnataka, under the aegis of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Employees’ League (KSRTC-EL), entered the fourth day on April 10, with employees firm on their demands.

Employees belonging to Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) are demanding that their wages be increased as per the State government’s Sixth Pay Commission.

The State government said that this would not be possible, adding that it was willing to increase the salaries by eight per cent, which led to the standoff.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa appealed to the RTC employees to resume work and not remain “stubborn by listening to some people”, but the RTC employees are sticking to their guns. Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, honorary president of KSRTC-EL, said that the strike would continue until the State government met the employees’ demands.

Speaking to mediapersons on April 9, Chandrashekhar said: “The strike will continue on Saturday as well. Chief Minister Yediyurappa should provide the financial reasons why the government is unable to hike the salaries as per the Sixth Pay Commission.”

Meanwhile, the Labour Department has issued an order “banning” the strike while referring the demands of the employees to the Industry Tribunal. The order from the department also pointed out that the strike began even as negotiations were still under way, which was a violation of rules as delineated in the Industrial Dispute Act of 1947. R. Chandrashekhar, president of KSRTC-EL, said: “We have given the notice as per the rule. It’s a strategy by the government. The strike will continue.”

With almost the entire bus fleet of the four RTCs off the roads in Karnataka, public road transport has completely collapsed in the State.