However, it's yet to be known whether KCR will hold talks with union leaders or not
Employees and worker unions of TSRTC began the indefinite strike from 5 Oct across Telangana, demanding a merger with the government, among others
Hyderabad: The Telangana government finally on Tuesday night said that it will conduct talks with unions of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), which have been leading an indefinite strike of the state-run bus services TSRTC since 5 October. A statement from chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s (KCR) office said that a committee has been formed to look into the demands put forth by the unions, excluding the one seeking the TSRTC’s merger with the state government.
With KCR finally giving in, commuters may finally be able to breathe easy as public transportation took a severe hit ever since the strike began. The statement from his office also stated that the chief minister has asked TSRTC officials to find alternative arrangements for commuters in wake of the strike and also to issue a notification to hire one thousand buses immediately. It however did not mention whether KCR will hold talks with union leaders or not.
The development comes four days after the Telangana High Court (based on a petition) had asked the TSRTC unions, which have formed a JAC, and the state government to hold talks. It has asked the state government to also submit a report on the issue by 28 October as well. On Tuesday, the strike entered its eighteenth day with commuters finding no respite in spite of the TSRTC hiring temporary drivers and running a fraction of its buses with their help.
Among the demands of the TSRTC unions are salary hikes (due since 2017 according to the JAC) and merger of the TSRTC with the state government (something KCR categorically said is not feasible). After the strike began on 5 October, KCR had said that all the 48,000-plus employees who participated in the strike will be considered as “self-dismissed" and in a statement later called the strike “illegal and unauthorized". However, the employees never received official notices stating the same.
It is to be seen how the unions react to KCR’s statement. However, even prior to this, especially after the Telangana High Court’s order on 18 October, they expressed readiness to hold talks with the state government, which was not ready to budge. The chief minister also censured the opposition, particularly the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stating that states run by both the national parties have not been able to successfully operate state-run buses in the country.