Talks Between Striking Transport Workers In Telangana, Management Fail

RTC Managing Director Sunil Sharma said the Telangana High Court had directed that 21 demands of employees should be discussed, but the unions wanted discussion on all their grievances, including merger of RTC with the government, which was not acceptable.

Talks Between Striking Transport Workers In Telangana, Management Fail

Talks between the TSRTC management and unions failed to achieve a breakthrough (File Photo)

Hyderabad:

Talks between the TSRTC management and unions, held for the first time since the workers went on strike on October 5 over various demands, failed to achieve a breakthrough as there was no consensus on the agenda, a top RTC official said in Hyderabad on Saturday.

RTC Managing Director Sunil Sharma said the Telangana High Court had directed that 21 demands of employees should be discussed, but the unions wanted discussion on all their grievances, including merger of RTC with the government, which was not acceptable.

He said they requested the union leaders to discuss the 21 demands, but the latter did not agree to it and went outside the venue to hold discussions with other union leaders.

The management waited till 6.30 PM for the leaders to return, but they did not turn up, he said.

"We were ready (for talks) but they did not discuss," he said.

The employees unions' leader Aswathama Reddy earlier told reporters that they sought discussion on all their demands and alleged that the officials gave a wrong interpretation to the court order, besides "restricting the agenda".

He said they came out of the venue after conveying to the management that they are ready to return after holding discussions with leaders from districts.

"We request one thing... discuss all issues. We feel accepting (their demands) or not will be resolved through talks," Mr Reddy said.

Aswathama Reddy also alleged that they were not allowed to carry their cellphones to the venue. "These cannot be called talks. They are talks under detention," he said.

Asked about this charge, Mr Sharma said cellphones can cause disturbance during meetings and pointed out that RTC officials had also kept their mobiles outside.

The strike by the employees, which entered the 22nd day on Saturday, would continue, another union leader said. "We said we will come (for talks) whenever called," he said.

Alleging that the meeting was held only to show that the court directive to RTC and striking workers to settle their disputes before October 28 had been implemented, a union leader said the intention behind the court's decision had been ignored by the authorities.

Meanwhile, CPI's state Assistant Secretary K Sambasiva Rao began an indefinite fast at the party's office in support of the strike by the RTC employees.

CPI's former General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy, who was present, criticised Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for his attitude over the strike.

The leaders of BJP, TDP, Telangana Jana Samiti and others, who have been supporting the stir, met the union leaders to discuss the future course of the agitation, including a protest rally in Hyderabad.

Protests by the employees and activists of opposition parties and other groups in various forms continued at various places in the state on Saturday.

Different employees and workers unions of TSRTC began the indefinite strike from October 5 across Telangana on a call by the JAC of TSRTC, demanding merger of RTC with the government and recruitment to various posts, among others.

The striking employees, workers of opposition parties and others have been organising protests in support of their demands and against the government in the state since then.

Ruling out discussions with the unions, the government had said the stir by nearly 48,000 employees was illegal as they caused immense inconvenience to public.

The High Court had on October 18 directed the RTC and employees to hold talks and settle all their disputes before October 28 and report to the court about the settlement.

Following the directive, the government decided to examine the demands, other than merger of TSRTC with the government.

The Chief Minister on Thursday ruled out any discussion on the merger and indicated that more buses would be taken on hire.

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