VIJAYAWADA: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the AP State Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees on Wednesday called off its proposed indefinite strike from Thursday after Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy promised to release Rs 3,700 crore with immediate effect to bail out the cash-strapped corporation. The JAC had, on May 9, served a notice on the management to go on strike from June 13 with a charter of 27 demands.
After resolving majority of the demands with the RTC management, the JAC leaders met Jagan at the Interim Government Complex in Velagapudi on Wednesday afternoon.
To the surprise of RTC employees, Jagan called them ‘government employees’, indicating that the YSRC government is in favour of merging the corporation with the government.
Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah, APSRTC Vice-Chairman and Managing Director NV Surendra Babu, executive directors A Koteswara Rao, KVRK Prasad and P Rama Rao were also present.
During the talks, the JAC leaders told Jagan that sharp rise in diesel prices had become a burden on the corporation. They urged the government to bear the burden and provide exemption to the RTC from paying annual Motor Vehicle (MV) Tax. Besides, the JAC urged the government to allocate funds in the Budget to purchase new buses.
The CM assured that his government would take the responsibility for implementing all the 27 demands mentioned in the strike notice. Major demands of the JAC include implementation of new wage revision as per agreement on February 5, raising retirement age to 60 years from the present 58, restriction on hiring vehicles and others.
The JAC leaders submitted a memorandum to Jagan requesting him to provide pension for retired staff, white ration card, housing facility, 50-bed super speciality hospital at Kadapa and Visakhapatnam for staff, sanctioning of Rs 1,500 crore recovered by the management from CCS, PF, SBT and SRBS.
Disclosing details to the media later, JAC convener P Damodar Rao thanked Jagan for constituting two panels to look into the possibility of merging the RTC with the government, a promise made by the YSRC chief during his padayatra.
“We are calling off the proposed indefinite strike from Thursday as the Chief Minister has promised to concede all the demands,” Rao said and added that the JAC urged Jagan to provide necessary financial support to the RTC management for fulfilment of their demands.
JAC leader Varahala Naidu said the Chief Minister has asked them to think about their long-pending demands, but not the financial issues as they will be dealt with by the government.
“We have informed Jagan about Rs 2,900 crore Credit Cooperative Society funds and Provident Fund amount of the employees taken for payment of loans taken by the management. In reply, the CM suggested that the employees resolve their demands with principal secretary MT Krishna Babu, Finance Minister B Rajendranath Reddy and Surendra Babu, rather than approaching him as the RTC employees will be considered as government employees soon.
The APSRTC management entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with JAC leaders regarding implementation of 27 demands during a meeting held at RTC House here on Wednesday.
Major demands include compassionate appointments, regularisation of services of drivers and conductors who have completed at least 240 days of service, payment of medical bills after an employee undergoing treatment at referral hospital, reduction of hired buses by 35 per cent, preparation of digital charts, promotion of eligible staff and release of pending CCS funds.