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The TSRTC unions, which have formed a joint action committee, have been leading a strike since 5 October
The TSRTC unions, which have formed a joint action committee, have been leading a strike since 5 October

TSRTC unions to call off strike if state govt takes back employees

  • Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao gives TSRTC workers time till 5 November to return to work
  • Telangana road transport body has lost around 200 crore due to the strike, which began on 5 October

As the strike by the Telangana State Road Transport Corp. (TSRTC) employees entered its 47th day on Wednesday, the unions said they were ready to call it off if the state government was willing to take back the 48,000-plus employees unconditionally.

The state government is yet to react to the offer. Earlier, Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR, had given an ultimatum to the TSRTC employees to return to work by 5 November, or they will be considered “self-dismissed". KCR also said that 5,100 private vehicles will be given permits to run on TSRTC routes.

“We have said that we will call off the strike, only the TSRTC management and the state government should not have any condition for the employees when they join back," said V.S. Rao, co-convener of the Staff and Workers Federation.

The TSRTC unions, which have formed a joint action committee (JAC), have been leading the protest since 5 October. Their main demand is to merge the TSRTC with the state government, which is something that KCR outrightly said will not happen.

On 12 October KCR had said the strike was “illegal and unauthorized" and, therefore, he would not hold talks with TSRTC unions. The strike has crippled public transport across Telangana, prompting the state government to hire temporary drivers to run buses on select routes. The JAC has put up 26 demands, which include salary hikes, which has been due since 2017, according to the JAC, and merger of the TSRTC with the state government.

The strike has also led to the TSRTC making losses of around 200 crore. The strike, which began on 5 October, has increased TSRTC’s daily operation loss from about 2 crore to 5.5-6 crore. “The corporation suffers losses on a daily basis, but now, because of the strike, only about 60% of our 10,400 buses are functioning, due to which the losses have increased," said a TSRTC official, requesting anonymity. He said right from the start, the state government had decided not to give in to the demand of the TSRTC unions to merge it with the government.

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