Thiruvananthapuram: The strike by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) trade unions on Friday left passengers stranded as buses are not plying on the roads. The strike commenced Friday early morning. Even the union affiliated to the ruling CPI-M is participating in the strike called for pay revision.
People who reached Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode by train in the morning, were left stranded as buses were unavailable. Shijumon David, a businessman from Kannur who had travelled overnight in a train to reach Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital had to travel 15 km towards Nedumangad in the interior of the capital city.
David had to take a cab to reach his destination shelling out a large amount of money when compared to a KSRTC ticket. The KSRTC management has already announced no pay for the strike day, for the workers who are participating in the agitation.
The Congress-affiliated INTUC had called for the strike which is supported by both the CPI-affiliated AITUC as well as the BJP supported BMS union.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Antony Raju came out strongly against the striking workers and said: “We will implement ‘no pay’ against those workers who are participating in the strike. We are contemplating including KSRTC under the essential services.”
If the KSRTC is included under essential services, the government will have the power to introduce stringent penal provisions against the disruption of services.
Members of the Transport Democratic Federation affiliated to INTUC of Congress, Kerala State Transport Employees Sangh affiliated to BMS, and Kerala State Transport Employees Union affiliated to the AITUC are participating in the strike.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had conducted a review meeting to revise the salary of the KSRTC employees but had also pressed for more revenue generation and for speeding up reforms in the department.
The trade unions had put forward certain demands including salary structure, appointment on compassionate grounds, and gratuity at par with government departments.
The KSRTC management had agreed on raising the emergency aid to the families of the staff who die on duty and also on the pension fund trust.
The Transport Minister had stated in the Legislative Assembly that KSRTC was reeling under losses and that 70 per cent of the revenue of the department is being spent on fuel.
The Minister said that 40 per cent of KSRTC buses are not making any profit.