BENGALURU: Suicide of a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation conductor and driver recently opened a can of worms bringing back into discussion low job satisfaction and work stress.
The department and employees differ about the cause of suicide, but experts say declining job satisfaction is what is causing an alarming rise in the number of suicides.
Vinayaka Murthy, conductor-cum-driver was employed at Depot No.6 in Bangalore Central Division since March 27. He committed suicide on November 23 at his residence. In the suicide note, he has accused Chowdaiah, a senior in the traffic section of harassment.
The letter says that he was performing his duty sincerely, but the duty chart at Kolar Division, where he was posted earlier, shows that from January 2014 to March 2015, he was absent from work for 140 out of 309 working days.
The rejoinder sent by the KSRTC on November 24 also notes that he was absent from duty since November 13, after taking a weekly off, though he signed up for duty on November 14 and 15.
The KSRTC staff and workers’ federation say that the KSRTC is short of staff and hence the work hours stress leads the drivers and conductors to depression.
However, KSRTC refutes the claim and says that duties and routes are assigned based on the employee’s choice.
There is a shortage of staff, said H V Anantha Subbarao, General Secretary KSRTC staff and worker’s federation. “From 10.5 workers per bus, KSRTC has now reduced the number to 4.”
Congested roads take the buses off their schedule and the conductor and driver have to pay a penalty from their own pockets. This leads to financial stress among the staff.
A KSRTC driver who didn’t want to be named said, “Most of the senior drivers opt for long distance routes since they come with better incentives and more days off.”
Junior employees are allotted shorter distances and are under pressure. Their paltry pay adds to their stress and insecurity. Even leaves on shorter routes are less.
Subbarao said that KSRTC don’t recognise any trade unions and hence the plight of the drivers are not being heard. There is also lot of corruption within the system, and better routes are assigned to staffs who are ready to pay bribes.
Ours is the only corporation to have the Staff Duty Rota System. This system is transparent and the duty is given to the driver based on his choice of route.
Official spokesperson of the corporation said, “There is no room for bribes while assigning duties as it is based on a duty system which is digitised and is based on seniority.”
The authorities also refuted the claim that the corporation don’t pay heed to the problems of their staffs and said that it has a proper counseling cell.
The routes based incentives has been fixed after proper consultation with our staffs. Even the operating hours are revised based on the traffic conditions, at regular intervals.
A source close to the Vinayaka Murthy, who committed suicide, said that he was not happy with his job.
A senior KSRTC official said that one can’t blame the system alone, but there are other facts which has increased stress among the staffs.
In Vinayaka’s case it might be a reason as he was a post graduate and worked as a bus conductor for `16,000 monthly salary.