Two days after over two lakh government staffers went on mass casual leave according to the unions, government employees supporting the stir by Haryana Roadways workers have now decided to go on a two-day strike on October 30 and 31. The roadways’ employees strike, meanwhile, completed 13 days on Sunday.
The strike is against hiring of 720 buses by the state government for Haryana Roadways fleet on kilometre basis. Employees see this as an attempt to “privatise public services”, while the government says “it can’t buy buses for all passengers that’s why it was hiring the buses”.
General Secretary of Sarv Karamchari Sangh (SKS) — an umbrella body of 102 workers’ unions in the state, Subhash Lamba said that all employee unions have joined hands in the support of roadways’ employees and against privatisation. SKS had given call of mass casual leave for October 26. According to Lamba, the employees of all government departments, boards, corporations, universities and municipalities will participate in the strike. There are about 2.6 lakh regular government employees apart from about 80,000 temporary employees in Haryana.
Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Transport) Dhanpat Singh has appealed agitating employees to resume their duties keeping in view the inconvenience being caused to the general public. “The government is adopting a liberal view in taking disciplinary action against the agitating roadways employees. But if they continue participating in strike, the government will be forced to take stern action against them,” said Singh while speaking to The Indian Express. A government spokesperson said that as many as 2,184 buses plyed on the roads in Haryana on Sunday.
Lamba said, “If the government doesn’t withdraw its decision related to 720 buses, the employees will also launch a campaign to expose government policies aimed at privatisation of roadways. If the government allows private buses then it will adversely affect the education of girls as private bus operators don’t allow free or concessional travel to students, including girls as is facilitated by the Haryana Roadways.”
A statemtment by protesting roadways staffers said: “In place of resolving the issue with dialogue, the government is arresting employees apart from ordering their suspension and dismissal. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed in all towns while roadways depots have been turned into police cantonments.”
‘Cong will reinstate dismissed employees’
Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry Sunday visited a dharna by protesting roadways employees at Bhiwani to extend her support.
“We will reinstate services of all employees, who have been dismissed by the BJP government during the ongoing agitation of employees, at first instance if we are voted to power in 2019 Assembly polls. We will buy more buses for the fleet of Haryana Roadways. The government should resolve the issue in place of remaining adamant,” she said. INLD leader and Leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly Abhay Singh Chautala has also supported the ongoing stir by Haryana Roadways employees.
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