KOCHI: Private Bus Operators Association and All Kerala Bus Operators Organisation have expressed their willingness to employ all 4,071 empanelled conductors sacked by KSRTC. A meeting held a few days back had officially taken the decision. “We are ready to offer the conductor’s job to 4,071 employees who were sacked by the KSRTC. Since almost all of them have previously worked in private buses, we don’t have any issues in taking them back,” said M B Sathyan, president, PBOA.
Most of the sacked staff has more than 10 years of experience as conductors. “The only profession they know is the conductor’s job. The unprecedented lay off has put them in a quandary as almost all are the sole breadwinners of their respective families. Even their age don’t allow them to try for another government job. We are ready to offer higher wages along with other privileges. They will be included in Motor Transport Workers Welfare Fund Board as members,” he said.
Along with the food allowance, a private bus conductor makes Rs 885 a day. In contrast, empanelled conductors used to receive around Rs 500 for per day in KSRTC without any privileges. “Most of them have adjusted their lives to low salary by doing overtime. But KSRTC stopped it a few months back, putting the life of empanelled workers in a miserable state.
Our effort is to bring their lives back to normalcy,” said a member of AKBOO. Meanwhile, the Association members admitted that around 1,000 employees have already approached them seeking job opportunities. “The lay off actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us as we are facing acute staff shortage. It is true several conductors sacked from the KSRTC already approached us. We asked them to wait for the Association’s decision and that too came in their favour. Within a few days they will take the charge in our buses,” said a PBOA member requesting anonymity.