Hundreds of AMTS drivers and conductors on Thursday sat on dharna outside Danapith office of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), protesting exploitation by the civic body.
About 2,000 of the contractual employees observed a day-long strike. As a result, only 450 of 800 buses could ply on the roads. They are complaining of privatisation and are demanding better pay scales. “For past few months, we have been deprived of better pay scales, as approved by the civic body,” said Amrish Patel, secretary of Gujarat Majdur Sangh.
As per Patel, a standing committee meeting in July had approved of increasing daily wages from Rs275 to Rs325 but the benefits haven’t been passed on to them. “Why are we still made to work as per old pay scale,” questioned Patel. His organisation has approached AMTS officials four times with their demands, but in vain.
The day-long protest crippled local commutation as Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services (AMTS) could operate only fraction of buses. Only a few buses were plying in the morning but their frequency increased in the afternoon.
“We engaged staff from our workshop to operate the buses,” said Amit Shah, chairman of AMTS. Shah said he has approved of hike in payment but the same is pending from higher-ups. This is reason why the new pay scale hasn’t been implemented. Arjav Shah said that the hike will be implemented in two months.
“The new scale will be implemented from Jan or Feb, 2013,” said Arjav, deputy municipal commissioner for AMTS. A meeting will be held with municipal commissioner on Friday to decide on future course of action.