Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa warns of ESMA against RTC workers’ bus strike call

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BELGHAVI: Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said that the state government might review implementing the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) against the employees of Road Transport Corporation (RTC) in Karnataka to force them back to work. The RTC employees called an indefinite strike on April 7 demanding a salary on par with 6th pay commission recommendations.

The Chief Minister told reporters in Belagavi on Wednesday that RTC employees are adamant about their demands.

“We want the employees to come for talks and explore possibilities of their grievances being resolved,” Yediyurappa said adding that to ensure hassle-free commute for passengers across the state, the government has made arrangements for private bus services, he said.

Pointing out that the public was inconvenienced, he called on striking employees to get back to work. The CM also alleged that the “selfish motives” of some people were behind the strike.

“We have fulfilled 8 of their (workers) nine demands, despite this they are adamant and have stopped buses, and are creating trouble for the public. I appeal to them, get back to work, we can talk,” Yediyurappa said.

If employees do not withdraw from the strike and do not come to the negotiation table, the government will review implementing ESMA, he cautioned adding that the government will wait and see today and tomorrow and take strict action depending on the situation.

He informed that the state government has proposed to give an eight per cent hike to the RTC employees and has sent a proposal to the centre.

However, before going forward with the decision, the Chief Minister added, he will have to avail permission from the Election Commission of India with the Model Code of Conduct in place for the by-elections.

Yediyurappa also warned private bus operators of action if they try to exploit commuters by charging more fare.

The Chief Minister also expressed confidence about the win of BJP candidate Mangala Angadi in the by-election of Belgaum Lok Sabha Constituency.

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who holds the Transport portfolio too said despite the government stating that it was ready for pay hike after permission from the election commission, some people have intentionally pushed for strike.

“I won’t say those behind it are from political parties or others, it will be known in the days to come..” he said without revealing much.

The DCM said some buses are operating and their numbers will increase in all the four corporations in two days.

“Private buses are being provided facilities at our bus terminals to operate from. They have been allowed to operate without permit, but with insurance for the convenience of the passengers. In two days we will increase their numbers and from tomorrow about 4,000 private buses, those who have surrendered permits will operate” he added.

Appealing to employees to get back to work, Savadi said income has completely stopped.

“It will be difficult to pay salary in the days to come, as long as you continue the strike it will harm you..”

Source/ Courtesy: Deccan Herald

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