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Stage set for another confrontation with SRTC employees

The SRTC employees have threatened mass protests against the management for its failure to address their grievances yet again.

Written by Majid Jahangir | Srinagar | February 10, 2009 12:38:50 pm

The stage seems set for yet another confrontation between State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) employees and the management of the corporation who have been at loggerheads with each other from almost three years now. The employees on Monday threatened mass protests against the SRTC management for its failure to address their grievances.

“We have resumed our movement which we had suspended following assurances by the government. We will carry out protest marches,sit-in and rallies across the state to press our demands and to protest the tyrannical approach of the management and the government,” the president of the JK SRTC workers Union,Shakeel Kuchay said. “At this time we have not suspended the operation of the vehicles,but if our demands are not met immediately we will be left with no option but to stop the service.”

The SRTC employee say that they are presently without wages from past two month and it has become a routine with the management not to release our wages regularly. “On many occasions after 2005,our salaries were not released even for seven months period. And after our protests the government agreed to address our demands,but the promises are never fulfilled,” Kuchay said. Besides demanding release of salaries and the employees have been asking Daily Allowance facility instead of COLA (cost of living allowance).

The SRTC is a corporation which has been running losses in J-K. Most of its vehicles are outdated and government had planed to auction them. In fact,the Corporation has come under a debt of Rs. 40 crore from J-K Bank. With a fleet of 1100 vehicles,the corporation has around 5000 employees. J-K government had decided to sell its land in Srinagar and Jammu to get rid of debts,but the plan was shelved later.

The SRTC employees said that they are now hoping that the new Chief Minister will address their problem and will give a new lease to the corporation. “We hope Omar sahib will genuinely see to our problems and solve them,” Kuchay said.

The Commissioner Secretary Dileep Singh said that the wages were being released and there was no point in calling for the strike. “The SRTC management is holding talks with employees and I feel that there is no need to call for protests,” he said.

Sources,however,said that the corporation was planning to give the golden handshake to those employees who were interested of availing the offer in a bid to get rid of these frequent protests.

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