HYDERABAD: The to-and-fro between striking RTC employees and the State government has now become a matter of heated debate among the general public as well. While some claim that the workers’ demands are unwarranted and done only to fetch better salaries and perks for themselves, there are others who justify their demands stating they must be paid on par with any other government employee.
A majority of the striking employees are cleaners, conductors and drivers. While they form over 47,000 of the striking populace, the rest of the 3,000 are clerical staff.
According to RTC unions, the drivers and conductors are equivalent to ‘Class 3’ of government employees, while the cleaners are ‘Class 4’. Their pays, however, do not match other workers at the same level.“Our salaries are 19 per cent less than that of a government employee on the same level. Even the routine pay revision, which should come every 4 years, was also delayed by the government. We seek the merger to streamline these irregularities,” said Raji Reddy, co-convenor of RTC JAC.
Despite this, even on Sunday night, several rumours were afloat that the RTC drivers and conductors actually earned over Rs 50,000. When Express spoke to the workers concerned and looked at the official data, it was revealed that the basic pay for an entry-level driver has been Rs 13,780, since 2013.
For a conductor at the entry-level, the basic pay is Rs 12,610. Over and above, they have House Rent Allowances (HRA) and Dearness Allowances (DA), which will add about Rs 3,000-Rs 4,000 more to the salary, as it is calculated on percentages ranging between 12-30 per cent depending on where the person is employed. For a driver or a conductor to be able to get Rs 50,000, it will easily take up to 20-25 years of service.
Meanwhile, the APSRTC drivers now get a basic pay of Rs 21,390 at the entry-level, while the conductors get Rs 19,580. This was confirmed by Sundaraiah from the Staff and Workers Federation of Andhra Pradesh. It may be mentioned that the APSRTC was recently merged with the government, and the employees given a pay revision.
When it comes to the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), as of date, the drivers receive a basic pay of Rs 17,130 at the entry-level. For conductors, this translates to Rs 9330. This is as informed by Jagnarayan Gupta, a union leader of the Staff and Workers Federation in Maharashtra.
As it is apparent, compared to these States, the Telangana RTC allots the lowest pay to its drivers with Rs 13,780. For conductors, however, Maharashtra pays the lowest.
Meanwhile, the protesters said that the comments by the CM were misleading, as they showcased them as greedy for hikes. “If the CM can prove that an RTC worker earns Rs 45,000 to Rs 50,000, we will withdraw this strike. We are asking what is due to us,” added Raji Reddy.