HRTC call 48-hour statewide strike starting Monday midnight after GS Bali allegedly threatens union leaders
SHIMLA- HRTC employees, protesting against government for neglecting their interested and depriving them of various benefits including night allowance and overtime that are due since 2013-14, have announced two day (June 14-15) state-wide strike starting from Monday midnight. The announcement came after union leaders and employees alleged the Transport Minister GS Bali of threatening them during talks.
About 2,500 buses will not ply on any route within and outside the state for two days if the government did not consider the demands made by the employees. The transport employees have also threatened to stop the operations of chartered and other states` roadways buses till Wednesday night. The strike will hit tourism industry along with causing huge inconvenience to public. Mr. Bali has requested passengers to make alternate arrangements during two day strike and to cancel HRTC bookings.
HRTC is the backbone of transportation in Himachal Pradesh. But now, about 8,000 HRTC employees have announced 48-hour strike as protest against government for their demands, which includes pension, overtime, regularization, betterment of workshops, salary to the contractual employees as per the policy of the contract, and to release their Employee Provident Fund.
Employees also alleged that monetary benefits given on retirement or death of an employee are deducted from the salary instead of corporation account. But even these benefits are not issued on time.
Another demand included conversion of the HRTC into roadways. HRTC employees want the state government to take over the corporation. Currently, HRTC is a public sector unit and if it is converted into roadways, it would become a government department and all liabilities of the employees will pass on to the government.
The Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) also alleged that its leaders are given threats by the Transport Minister instead of listening to their genuine demands. Talks failed between transport minister G S Bali and a delegation of HRTC employees that was scheduled to meet at the mini secretariat on Saturday afternoon to discuss demands rose by employees of the state-run transport corporation.
Employees alleged that right before the meeting, they were asked to leave their mobile phones outside the meeting hall, which caused a brawl. The minister himself came out and asked workers to leave the phones. The delegation called off the talks. Shankar Singh Thakur, a workers’ leader said,
We were called for a meeting at the mini secretariat and were told to keep our mobile phones out of the hall. We said that we were ready to switch off our phones in front of the minister, but that was not acceptable for them. That is why we boycotted talks. Now it is up to the chief minister to consider the matter. Else, we would be going on a state-wide strike from June 14.
However, GS Bali claimed that all benefits are being given to employees and alleged union leaders of instigating employees for strike and appealed workers to not go on strike.
The monetary relief given on sudden death of a serving employee under benevolent fund has been enhanced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.25 lakh and for retired employees from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000,
the minister said.
He alleged that the employees were the office-bearers of the Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), the trade union wing of the BJP.
Photos: Amar Ujala/ Kamaljeet (TNS)