Though top KSRTC and BMTC officials have been downplaying the strike called by employee unions of the corporations demanding a pay hike, they are worried over the possibility of bus services being disrupted from April 27.
Officials claim that the strike will not have much effect. “There is some kind of a strike or protest every six months. Only 300 people participated in the last strike called by unions in January. Even this time, not more than 1,000 employees from all the corporations are likely to participate in the strike. Considering that a lot more people are on leave on any given day, this will not affect services at all,” said a KSRTC official.
To ensure that nothing is left to chance, heads of various departments of the corporations have been asked to visit depots in the city and ‘take employees into confidence’, according to a BMTC official. “For the last few days, all department heads have been visiting depots and speaking with employees. We are trying to take them into confidence,” a senior official said. “We have been reminding drivers and conductors about the various perks they receive by being part of these corporations. We remind them of job security, welfare measures that have been initiated for them and allowances that they get,” the official said.
The employees are also told about the recent changes in management which will lead to corresponding changes in administration. “Employees have grievances with regard to not getting leave, being forced to do double duty by depot managers, etc. This has mostly happened due to a shortage of staff and we have already begun to address these issues,” he said.
Nevertheless, protestors are adamant about going ahead with the strike. They are confident that a majority of employees will participate in it. “Some services will stop from April 26 afternoon and all services will be hit on April 27,” said KR Vijaykumar, spokesperson of the joint committee formed by six unions of the state’s public transport corporations. Over one lakh employees are expected to participate in the strike, he said.