Bali fires 30 HRTC striking employees (leaders), ESMA imposed to deter staff from striking in future
6,500 employees are on contract. The contractual driver gets Rs 6,000 per month while conductor Rs 4,000. Employees were demanding Rs 8,310 for drivers and Rs 7,810 for conductors only while the state government has hiked salaries and perks of MLAs and ministers by 100 per cent at one go.
SHIMLA- The transport minister G.S. Bali yesterday dismissed 30 employees of Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) for going on strike despite High Court orders and union leaders are specifically targeted. This is the first occasion when HP government has taken such a decision to sack large number of employees at one go. The government also invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act to deter HRTC staff from going on strike in future. Along with HRTC, ESMA was also imposed on 108 employees who were to go on strike from Friday.
It implies that in future HRTC employees neither could go on strike, nor could they force others to do so as ESMA provides punishment for three-year jail, said HRTC, Ashok Tiwari.
Bali said the action against the 30 employees has been taken in accordance with HC orders. The dismissed employees had gone on strike despite High Court restraining them from strike and did not join back at their place of work, he said. The employees refused to receive copy of HC orders during a meeting held on June 14, which was directly against court orders, he added.
The decision has sent waves of terror among employees, which appears to be the basic intention of taking such action. The Honorable High Court didn’t hesitate a bit to announce contempt of court against striking employees, but it hadn’t spoken a word against the minister who had openly defied its orders to not park vehicles in core Shimla Mall area. Surprisingly, two traffic constables were immediately suspended when they tried to remind the minister of HC orders. This partial strictness is quite puzzling.
List of Sacked HRTC Employees include
Shankar Singh Vidya Sagar, Laxmi Dutt, Brijlal, Naanak Shandil, Kuldeep Thakur, Dalip Kumar, Khemender Gupta, Kushal, Jasmer Rana, Suresh Kumar, Gulab Singh, Subhash Verma, Satya Prakash, Roshan Chauhan, Rajendra Singha, Roop Chand, Desraj, Devender kumar, Jeet Ram, Dalip Kumar, Hemant Kumar, Rajender Thakur, Devraj, Hardayaal Singh, Prithvi Raj, Yashpal, Pawan Kumar Guleria, Neel Kamal, and Jaspal Sultan
However, the employees said they haven’t yet received any orders of their dismissal. Employees also said if they are sacked, they will approach the high court saying they have full faith in the court.
What HRTC Employees Said
Though Bali claimed the HRTC had redressed and paid most of the arrears, including pension, to its retired employees till May 2016, he remained non-committal about the payment of HRTC liability worth Rs 150 crore for 2008-12 and blamed it on the previous BJP government.
HRTC employees alleged the HRTC management was trying to run the transport by hiring drivers and contractors on contract and 6,500 employees are on contract. The contractual driver gets Rs 6,000 per month while conductor Rs 4,000. We demand Rs 8,310 for drivers and Rs 7,810 for conductors only while the state government has hiked salaries and perks of MLAs and ministers by 100 per cent at one go.
Employee has also demanded the HRTC should be upgraded to roadways as was the case in Punjab and Haryana because Himachal followed neighbouring states in pay scale for all government employees and HRTC employees should be treated on a par with them, said JCC members.
What GS Bali Said
He said the HRTC had given financial benefits to the tune of Rs 560 crore to the employees.
Referring to the benefits given to the employees, Bali said that 1651 appointments were made during past three years, 1250 employees were promoted, 1846 regularized and 347 recruitments were made on compassionate grounds.
He said the drivers and conductors, who have completed 20 years of service were given two special increments and the employees were also given the benefit of 4-9-14, grade pay, over time, leave encashment, medical allowance and many other benefits.
Bali said in the meeting with the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) leaders of the HRTC unions, the HRTC management told them about the HC orders, but they still went on strike which was illegal
We have decided to impose ESMA in HRTC keeping with the attitude of the employees, who went on strike against the Court orders, the minister said.
Bali said if these demands were accepted, the state would be put under high financial burden of Rs 1,000 crore.
There isn’t doubt that state failed to find reach any conclusion by its on regarding the unrest among HRTC employees who have been protesting since past 2-3 years over various issues including regularization and release of monetary benefits. The role of the transport minister is questionable because he could provide any direction to HRTC or its employees during this time. HRTC is consistently facing financial losses due to lack of vision.