The Telangana Road Transport Corporation Joint Action Committee (RTC JAC) — a committee of 10 workers’ unions have called for a ‘Chalo Bus Bhavan’ protest in Hyderabad on August 7, in response to the alleged harassment of employees by the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) management. Except for Telangana Mazdoor Union, which is seen as a supporter of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government, all other unions are part of this Joint Action Committee. Before the protest, the JAC will hold a meeting at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Narayanaguda on August 3, to discuss the problems of the employees and devise their strategy.
The JAC alleges that workers are being overworked by the management in violation of labour laws and not being adequately compensated for their work. “Some employees are forced to work for 15 to 16 hours, and are not compensated for working extra hours. This is atrocious,” said K Hanumanth Mudiraj, Vice-Chairman Telangana Jathiya Mazdoor Union. The JAC in a statement said that the management has not implemented the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, and that they are not getting paid on time. According to the JAC, while the city depot employees are getting their salary on the 20th of every month, the district depot employees are getting it on the 15th of every month.
“Without implementing the job nomenclature, the drivers and conductors are forced to do the job of porters and construction workers. The women conductors are made to sweep the buses,” the JAC said. The JAC alleged that the TSRTC management has spent Rs 1,405 crore from their provident fund. They also alleged that the management had spent Rs 934 crore from their cooperative society funds, and is yet to pay back Rs 182 crore in the form of interest.
The JAC also said that the management is yet to renew the agreement of payment for the current year. The last agreement was renewed in 2017. Accusing the management of violating labour laws, the JAC said that the representations made by the trade unions which are registered are not being accepted. Complaining of the same, the JAC had given representations to the Revenue Minister and the Managing Director of the TSRTC on July 12, the JAC said. The JAC also demanded the intervention of the Labour Commissioner, as the TSRTC is allegedly not recognising the unions.
In 2019, TSRTC employees went on a massive protest for 52 days, with a charter of 26 demands. Among them, one of their major demands was merger of TSRTC, an autonomous body under the government, with the government, so that employees receive the benefits on par with government employees. However, the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao went on the offensive and refused to budge, following which the employees were forced to call off their strike.