Karnataka transport employees Monday called off their strike, after state transport minister Laxman Savadi agreed to nine of their 10 demands.
The indefinite strike of the drivers and conductors had begun on Friday, with the protesters demanding, among other things, that they be considered government employees, be paid on par with state government staff, and get compensation similar to Covid-19 frontline workers in event of death due to the pandemic.
The only demand refused by the government was to consider the workers, who are transport corporation employees, as state government employees.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has blamed a farmer leader for “instigating” the transport employees. Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president Kodihalli Chandrashekar had Friday expressed support for the workers’ strike. On Sunday, Yediyurappa said in a statement: “Chandrasekhar has instigated a section port employees to protest, which has led to stone-pelting at KSRTC and BMTC buses. He is also responsible for causing loss to public property.”
The transport department in the state has about 37,019 workers. It runs a fleet of 17,138 buses by four separate transport corporations — Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), North West Road Transport Corporation (NWRTC) and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). All four had gone on strike.
Amid the protest, few buses were operated by the corporations on Monday – KSRTC operated 565 of its 5,500 buses, while BMTC operated 314 of 5,000 buses. Commuters were inconvenienced by the flash strike, with many forced to opt for costlier private transport.
The protest was called off after the government agreed to hike salaries in accordance with the 6th Pay Commission’s recommendations, withdrawal of not-issued-not-collected cases against conductors, reduction of training period for new employees to one year from two years, to have a policy on inter corporation transfers, Arogya Bhagya health insurance cover for all employees, Rs 30 lakh ex-gratia for the families of those who succumbed to Covid-19, setting up of a committee to address the complaints about harassment by higher officials, and introduction of Human Resources Management System(HRMS) in the HR department.
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