HYDERABAD: Even as the TSRTC JAC is contemplating to intensify strike, two employees of the corporation resumed duty on Friday, responding to the call of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao that those staff who are willing to join could resume duty immediately.
After the committee of six executive directors of TSRTC submitted its report to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday, it is expected that there would be talks between the TSRTC management and the JAC leaders on Saturday. The committee is understood to have looked into 21 demands of the unions that the High Court had mentioned in its order on October 18, as they pertain to workers’ dignity and would not entail any financial burden on the corporation.
When contacted, TSRTC JAC members said that they had not received any invitation for talks. They, however, said they were willing to hold talks.
“The fact that the report is made without consulting us shows the CM’s lack of interest in following court orders. However, if called, we will hold talks,” said Thomas Reddy, JAC leader. It is expected that after holding talks with the employees’ unions, the report might be tweaked and submitted to the High Court when it resumes hearing on strike on October 28.
Meanwhile, one of the two TSRTC employees who resumed duty, lodged a complaint with Kukatpally police against RTC JAC convenor Aswathama Reddy based on which they registered a case against him for wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation.
The complainant G Raju alleged that Reddy called for a strike which led to many workers ending their lives. He stated that these were murders caused by the leader and that he was brainwashing the workers into blindly following his call. “As leaders, they must fight for us, not make us fight for them,” Raju, who had put in 11 years of service with RTC, said.
Reacting to this, Aswathama Reddy said that Raju might be an outsider. “We are yet to verify if he even works with RTC,” he said, taking strong exception to TRS’ divisive politics. Another RTC staffer Usha Babu, a mechanical supervisor, also reported to duty at BHEL fearing the prospect of losing his terminal benefits as he is due to retire on October 31.
“I am from Telangana Mazdoor Union and I will speak out against the mishandling of the situation by the unions. The leaders should not be asking the employees to go on strike, especially if it is for a prolonged period. Thanks to KCR, we have an opportunity to resume duty,” Raju said.
The management drafted a new joining letter for both, which specified that they can join only after attesting that they won’t join any union.
Striking RTC workers say this drama of resuming duty is only to bring about a split in the TJAC unions. “The driver joined Kukatpally depot a week before the strike began, as the Miyapur depot removed him for absenteeism. He is using this as an opportunity to wash off this inefficiency. One or two such incidents may happen, but in Kukatpally depot alone, there are 750 more fearless striking employees,’’ Ashok, a depot supervisor, said.
Further, senior staffers from other depots said that attempts by the CM to divide the employees will fall flat and these are only fluke cases. Many opined financial stress may have forced the staff to resume duty.