For the first time since the TSRTC workers began their strike, the TSRTC management and unions held talks. The workers began their strike on October 5 with various demands being made. At the time the management and workers failed to achieve a breakthrough as there was no consensus on the agenda, a top RTC official said in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Sunil Sharma, RTC’s Managing Director stated that the Telangana High Court had directed that 21 demands of the employees should be discussed, but the unions wanted to hold discussions on all their grievances which includes the merger of RTC with the government, Sharma stated this was not acceptable. The RTC’s MD further added that they had requested the union leaders to discuss the 21 demands, but the unions did not agree with this and went left the venue to hold discussions with other union leaders. Sharma further stated that the management waited till 6:30 in the evening for the leaders to return, but neither of them showed up. "We were ready (for talks) but they did not discuss," Sharma added. Aswathama Reddy, the leader of the employees union had previously stated to reporters that they sought discussion on all their demands and claimed that the officials had given a wrong interpretation of the court order, besides "restricting the agenda".
Reddy further stated that leaders of the unions 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," Reddy said. Reddy further claimed that they were not allowed to carry their cellphones to the venue, he added that "These cannot be called talks. They are talks under detention.”
Sunil Sharma, while responding to these claims saying that cellphones are not allowed usually during meetings as they can cause disturbances, had pointed out that the RTC officials themselves had also kept their cellphones outside. The strike by the employees which on Saturday had entered its 22nd day is set to continue, according to another union leader. The Union leader stated that "We said we will come (for talks) whenever called.”. Alleging that the meeting was held only to show that the court directive to RTC and striking workers to settle their disputes before 28 October had been implemented, a union leader said the intention behind the court's decision had been ignored by the authorities.
Congress on Friday demanded a judicial probe into the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) matter. Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan in Hyderabad, party spokesperson Dasoju Sravan stated that a sitting High Court judge should order a probe on the TSRTC’s income, assets and liabilities and other aspects of its employees. Furthermore, he condemned Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for his statement on the ongoing strike by the employees of TSRTC. He called upon the government to issue a white paper on TSRTC.
(Inputs from PTI)