THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The outrage among KSRTC employees over delayed salary came out in the open when R S Felix, a mechanic of Poovar depot near here, lay down on the ground in front of a bus to register his protest.
Felix was on duty and had taken permission from his superior to attend a family emergency. He blocked the bus, en route to credit the collection amount in bank, for an hour before police removed him. He has been suspended from service pending inquiry.
Felix found support from employees and trade union leaders. AITUC-affiliated Kerala State Road Transport Employees Union (KSRTEU) said the action against Felix was unjust and the executive director (Vigilance) K B Ravi should not have approved penal action against a protesting employee.
Trade unions, including those affiliated to the ruling LDF, vowed to intensify their stand against the KSRTC for delay in salary payment. KSRTEU has warned of strikes if the management failed to disburse salary. It has taken out protest marches to the state Secretariat and Transport Bhavan demanding salary.
CITU-affiliated Kerala State Road Transport Employees Association (KSRTEA) and INTUC-affiliated Transport Democratic Front (TDF) have organised protest meetings in depots.
An employee strike will further jeopardise the functioning of the public transporter struggling to run its daily schedules owing to shortage of drivers. Since October 3, KSRTC has been cancelling over 1,000 schedules everyday. It managed to operate only 3,988 of the 5,312 schedules on Thursday.
Ordinary services have been the worst hit after KSRTC chose to deploy drivers on the more lucrative super class segments.