HYDERABAD: TSRTC Joint Action Committee President Ashwathama Reddy on Tuesday informed that the TSRTC strikes will continue and decided to boycott the Chief Minister's deadline to join back services by November 5.
"We are boycotting Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's call to join back services before November 5. We are going to protest in front of all RTC depot's and later on the family members of RTC employees will also participate in the protest”, News agency ANI quoted Reddy as saying.
"We also request the conductors and drivers who are performing duties with RTC to join us in the protest," he added.
The Deputy General Secretary of the Employees Union, Mohammed Ahmed Ali also said that the RTC workers will not return to service without any agreement with the government.
On Monday, Telangana Chief Minister's Office issued a statement warning the striking TSRTC staff that if they fail to resume duty by the deadline of November 5, the state government will not take them back.
The government also made it clear that if the workers and employees do not join the duties by the expiry of the deadline, in the rest of 5,000 routes, private buses will be given permits and then there would not be any entity called RTC in the state.
"The government has given a good opportunity to the workers and employees by giving them a deadline by Tuesday midnight to join duties. The future of the workers and their families are not in the hands of anyone else. It is totally in the hands of workers to protect their jobs," the Telangana CMO had said in a statement.
"The RTC union leaders are misleading workers and employees showing the High Court hearing of the case. But according to legal experts, the High Court has not given any directives on the strike to the government. There is nothing the court can do. If the High Court verdict is contrary, having come this far on the matter, both the RTC and government would appeal in the Supreme Court. If the case goes to the Supreme Court the matter would be delayed much further. Going by the past experiences, the case in the Supreme Court may drag on for months and years to come. It will become a never-ending battle. Hence this will not do any good to the workers," the statement added.
The statement comes in the wake of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's announcement in a state Cabinet decision late on Saturday night which set November 5 deadline for striking RTC employees to return to work.
He also announced a decision to open up 5,100 routes of the 10,400 to the private sector and setting up a transport regulatory commission to regulate operations.
Meanwhile, in a press release issued by Sunil Sharma, Managing Director TSRTC, gave a list of offices where the RTC employees who wanted to return could submit their joining letters. The list includes District Collector and Superintendent of Police.
The chief minister held a review meeting at Pragati Bhavan here on Monday in the backdrop of ongoing RTC strike and the High Court hearings on the matter.
Minister Sri Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Chief Advisor to the government Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary SK Joshi, senior officials S Narsing Rao, Ramakrishna Rao, Sunil Sharma, Sandeep Sultania, Arvind Kumar, Lokesh Kumar, Advocate General (AG) Sivananda Prasad, Additional AG Ramachandra Rao and others participated.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of TSRTC has been on a strike since October 5 demanding merger of the corporation with the state government and revision of pays among other demands.
Earlier this week, they intensified their indefinite protest against the sacking of over 40,000 employees by the state government.
During the ongoing protest, a few TSRTC employees have lost their lives either by committing suicide or depressed by the demonstration.
Various political parties including the BJP, Congress, TDP and CPI have also come together in support of the RTC employees and are demanding the state government to take them back.
Taking a tough stand, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had said that there is no question of having any talks with the agitating RTC employees to taking them back
Earlier, KCR had made it very clear that under no circumstances would the RTC be merged with the government and added that the 48,000 striking RTC staff had ‘self-dismissed’ themselves.
He termed the agitation as illegal and directed the officials to restore bus services and if need be, recruit employees, utilise the services of retired RTC and police department drivers.
With inputs from Agencies