Karnataka govt talks tough, rules out negotiation on RTC employees strike

The State government has ruled out any negotiation with Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees, who are all set to go on an indefinite strike from Thursday, demanding implementation of the sixth pay commission on par with other government employees. The government also warned of “all possible action within the legal framework” against the striking employees.

Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar, speaking to media persons after a meeting on the issue with Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday, said: “There is no question of treating RTC employees like other state government employees and implementing sixth pay commission. The government has instead finalised a pay hike of 8% to RTC employees which we are ready to implement, but for the model code of conduct in force due to the bypolls.

“I have already written to the Election Commission of India seeking their permission to implement the pay hike in light of the proposed indefinite strike from April 7. If they permit, the pay hike will be implemented immediately. If not, after the bypolls. But for this we have decided there will be no negotiation and the strike will be dealt with strictly. The chief minister is clear on this,” he said, adding that enforcing Essential Services Management Act (ESMA), was also under consideration.

He added that the RTCs have been reeling under severe losses already due to the reduction in ridership since last year due to the pandemic. “All RTCs combined, the government is incurring a loss of ₹4 crore everyday. The government has provided ₹2100 crore in the last one year to RTCs and ensured all employees are paid salaries on time without any paycut. We appeal to RTC employees to be considerate and not go on strike from Thursday,” the chief secretary said.

He further announced that all alternate arrangements including appealing railways to run special trains and allowing private buses, maxicabs to run routes, will be made to mitigate the inconvenience caused to the public.

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