Telangana government calls 48,563 TSRTC workers back to work
Telangana State Road Transport Cooperation workers have today rejoined their various posts after waging a militant struggle over the past two months. After declaring 48,563 workers terminated on the basis of their strike being illegal, the Telangana government has yesterday, on 28th November, recalled all workers to unconditionally rejoin their posts. This declaration from the government has come three days after the calling off of the strike by the Unions on the 25th of November.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) leading the struggle so far had on Monday asked all workers to join work from Tuesday morning onwards, at the same time requesting temporary workers currently employed by the TSRTC to not come for work the next day. Conveners of the JAC stated that the struggle for redressal of various issues being faced by the workers. They had also warned the government of intensifying the strike if the workers were not taken back and had also reiterated their commitment towards safeguarding public transportation and providing support to the families of deceased workers.
The initial response of the government to the 25th November declaration by the JAC was unrelenting on the point of the illegality of the strike and termination of workers. There was heavy police deployed at all TSRTC depots to prevent workers from rejoining on Tuesday. However, the government has been pushed back a step by the resolute struggle being mounted by the workers.
The strike which started on the 5th of October had brought Telangana state to a grinding halt for about two whole months. The strike received significant support from other unions and workers’ organizations in the state and the rest of the country. Among these, the 19th October strike by cab drivers, including those from OLA and Uber has been significant, where 50 thousand cabs went off the streets in addition to the strike in public transportation. 4 workers committed suicide and 27 others lost their lives to heart attacks and other medical conditions in the period of the strike. The strike also won significant support from all opposition parties in the state.
Yet, despite the widespread struggle and solidarity on the issue, the state government, showing exemplary commitment to their agenda of privatising state services only met the workers once and have resolutely refused to accept even a single one of the workers’ demands. On the contrary, it has introduced a 20p/km increase in bus fares, and also attributed the agitation to the instigation of workers organisations and unions, instead of addressing the real issues at stake. Yet, the step of recalling workers to join their posts taken yesterday is a sign of the necessity of seeking some resolution, that has been imposed upon the government by the workers struggle