Employees of various Road Transport Corporations went on indefinite strike from Wednesday, demanding that their salaries be increased in accordance with the sixth pay commission recommendations. The employees of four different state run road transport corporations have been demanding that the state government bring them under the government employees category in order to receive the benefits of pay commissions in the future too.
After a detailed discussion with Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa, Chief Secretary P. Ravikmar told reporters on Tuesday that there is no question of treating RTC employees like other state government employees and implementing the sixth pay commission.
"The government has instead finalised a pay hike of eight per cent to RTC employees which we are ready to implement, but because of the model code of conduct in force due to the bypolls, we have not implemented this," he said.
How bus services were impacted
As a result, RTC employees went on strike on Wednesday, stranding daily commuters, who were forced to shell out extra cash for alternative means of transportation. In Bengaluru, commuters had to wait for over an hour to catch a ride in private buses or maxicabs arranged by the government for major routes. Commuters opted for auto-rickshaws, taxis and other means of travel during the strike.
The situation was similar across the state. Private buses remained the preferable choice for commuters, while autos and taxis remained in high demand. Mangaluru, Raichur, Shivamogga, Kalaburgi, and others were heavily impacted by the RTC bus strike.
Due to this, many universities, including Bangalore University, Bengaluru Central University have postponed the examinations.
The Karnataka transport department has about 37,019 workers. It runs a fleet of 17,138 buses through four separate transport corporations — Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), North West Road Transport Corporation (NWRTC) and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).
When the employees of all four corporations had gone on strike in December 2020 for four days, bus services across Karnataka had been severely affected.
Thousands of striking drivers and conductors of KSRTC were joined by those from BMTC, NEKRTC and NWKRTC at Bengaluru's Freedom Park.