The TSRTC unions have been on a warpath with the state government since 5 October, when all of the 48,000-plus employees of the state-run bus services stopped coming to work. With the state government unwilling to talk to the unions so far, the matter has escalated with the latter only intensifying its activities in protest. TSRTC unions have formed a joint action committee (JAC), under which they are working together.
“All of us from the JAC (which comprises the TSRTC Employees union, Telangana Mazdoor Union and the Staff and Workers Federation (SWF) are ready to speak, but so far not one person has called us. We will go ahead with the bandh call that has been given by the JAC on 19 April,” said Raji Reddy, a union leader from the TSRCT Employees Union.
A day earlier on Tuesday, the TSRTC-JAC also received support from the Telangana Non-gazetted Employees Organization (TNGO) and the Telangana Electricity Trade Unions Front, which had earlier remained non-committal on the matter. Aside from that, Rajya Sabha MP from the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, K. Keshava Rao, in a letter appealed to the protesting TSRTC unions and the state government to end the impasse and conduct talks.
The TSRTC unions, which are also being supported by opposition parties, will conduct a state-wide bandh on 19 October, for which it has given a call. Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR), who has directed TSRTC officials to press into service temporary drivers to run the state buses, has so far not held any talks with the protesting unions.
“We will continue the strike. Not a single person has to come talk to us so far, and all of the roughly 50,000 TSRTC employees will continue to abstain from their duties till we are called for talks,” said VS Rao from the Staff and Workers Federation (SWF). He added that a meeting which was to be held by the TNGO along with leaders from the TSRTC-JAC has been postponed for Thursday.