BENGALURU: Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, also the Transport Minister, on Monday appealed to the state road transport corporation employees not to go ahead with their indefinite strike from April 7, saying the government cannot decide on their demand for a pay hike with the model code of conduct in place for the bypolls.
But the employees have decided to go ahead with the strike and have sent a letter on their demands to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Savadi. They have also started an online campaign, asking citizens to support them.
Savadi said the government lost `7 crore when the employees went on a four-day strike earlier and it will lose `2 crore a day if they go on agitation again. “People, especially students, will be put to hardship. The employees’ demand may be justified, but not the timing. They have to understand the situation because of Covid and cooperate. This year, we had to take the highest loan ever because of a shortfall in revenues,” he said. The model code is not an excuse and the government is thinking of increasing their salaries, he added. It will be done after getting the go-ahead from the Election Commission, he said.
But the demand for a salary hike as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission needs a detailed discussion, he said. This will put an additional burden of `3,800 crore in four years on the corporation at a time when the revenue is sufficient for existing salaries and fuel. To counter the strike impact, the government is making alternative arrangements by asking private bus and transport vehicle operators to provide services.