EAMCET exam to be hit by RTC strike

Published on May 08, 2015 08:59:17 AM
State-owned Road Transport Corporation buses remained off the roads in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for a second consecutive day on Thursday as over one lakh employees continued their indefinite strike, demanding pay revision. Andhra Pradesh Transport Corporation (APSRTC) MD N Sambasiva Rao warned of terminating the services of contract employees who failed to join duty and the corporation would take up panel recruitment by issuing notification on Friday.

Appealing to the workers to call off the strike in the wake of EAMCET examination and because of inconvenience being caused to students, the RTC MD said that he was ready for negotiations. "We are ready for negotiations. If they come here, they are welcome and if they want me to go to them I will go and hold talks,” said Rao. However, ignoring the threat by the Corporation to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), nearly 120,000 employees stayed away from duty. With nearly 20,000 buses confined to depots, the public road transport service remained pralaysed in both the states, affecting 1.5 crore people.

The attempts by APSRTC management to use the services of contract workers to operate buses met with stiff resistance by the striking employees, leading to tension in some places. The employees' unions have called for rallies and sit-ins to protest what they call indifferent attitude of the management towards their demand for 43 percent hike in salaries. Tension prevailed in Hanamkonda town of Warangal district when police stopped employees from taking out a rally. There was a scuffle between policemen and striking workers. Prohibitory orders have been imposed at all bus stations and depots to prevent protests by the employees. In Andhra Pradesh, a total of 10,576 were off the roads while in Telangana 9,370 buses were confined to depots. Students, office goers, holidayers, people attending marriages and pilgrims in Tirupati were hit hard by the strike.

The strike is likely to hit hard the students attending EAMCET in Andhra Pradesh on Friday. More than 2.5 lakh students are to appear for the entrance test for admissions into medical and engineering colleges. The employees are demanding pay revision at par with the other government employees in the two States. The APSRTC management has turned down the demand citing poor financial condition of the organisation. It has offered 27 percent hike.Sambasiva Rao said the hike would put a burden of Rs.2,800 crore on the organisation, which suffered a loss of Rs.950 crore during 2014-15. The MD said that if 27 per cent fitment is provided to employees, an employee who is getting Rs 15,000 per month at present would get Rs 26,000 per month, excluding the HRA. There are more than 40 per cent employees who have Rs 15,000 as salary.

The MD said that the corporation would issue notification for panel recruitment on Friday. People who apply would be taken on regular services. He said that contract employees, who failed to report to the corporation on Thursday would be terminated. He informed that few of the contract employees in Telangana had reported to duties and few in Andhra Pradesh had stated that they would come. The MD said that the corporation’s first target on Friday would be to transport students to EAMCET centers in AP. Right from 6.30 am, buses would be made available at various places in districts. He appealed to the private educational institution buses to carry students for free to the exam centre.

JMD G V Ramana Rao said that 2,400 people had reported for the post of conductors and 2,150 were shortlisted. Similarly, 4,090 reported for the driver’s post, but only 219 were selected. He said that contract employees who had reported on Thursday were given regularisation orders.