To express solidarity with agitating state roadways workers, government staffers across various departments began a two-day strike Tuesday, the employees’ unions said.
The employees’ union leaders said their strike had affected normal life heavily, a claim which was later rebuffed by the state government.
The Haryana Roadways employees have been protesting for the last 15 days against the state government’s decision to run 700 private buses. On Monday, they extended their strike till November 2.
“To express solidarity with them (roadways workers) as many as 2 lakh employees from various departments have gone on a two-day strike starting today,” said Subhash Lamba, general secretary of the Sarv Karamchari Sangh, Haryana, an apex body of the state government employees.
He claimed employees of various state departments, boards, corporations, municipalities and panchayat raj institutions have gone on strike, “badly affecting work”.
Lamba said the worst-hit government department was the power division. “Bijli Vitran Nigams (power utilities) were the most affected by the strike. Complaint centres also remained shut,” he said.
Anganwari, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and mid-day meal workers also participated in the strike, he said.
However, an official government spokesman said, “Work in various Haryana government departments remained normal. As many as 1.22 lakh employees marked their attendance using the biometric systems.”
The government had asked employees to mark their attendance twice on Tuesday to ensure few persons took part in the strike.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Tuesday reiterated that the state roadways was not being privatised.
Speaking to reporters in Kurukshetra, he said the roadways fleet was being expanded. “Under the new scheme, drivers would be of the bus owner whereas conductors would be deputed by the state government and the revenue generated would go to the state exchequer. Similarly, the route and time table would be decided by the state roadways. The scheme is completely in favour of employees and it will improve the transportation system,” Khattar said.
Meanwhile, official sources said the government was likely to engage in fresh round of talks with the roadways employees to end the deadlock, even as the stir by the public transport employees has been the longest in the state’s history.
The roadways employees stir has hit public transport services despite the state government making alternate arrangements, including appointing drivers and conductors and hiring buses.
The Haryana Roadways employees had Thursday last week decided to extend their strike till October 29 as their fresh round of talks with the government failed to make headway.
The employees are on strike since October 16 against the government’s decision to hire 700 buses from private owners. There are about 19,000 employees in the Haryana Roadways.
The roadways, having a fleet of 4,100 buses, cater to about 12 lakh passengers daily.