Transport staff strike illegal, no talks or pay hike: Karnataka government | Bengaluru News – Times of India

Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa ruled out negotiations with the employees.

BENGALURU: The Karnataka government on Friday turned the heat on striking state road transport corporation employees, declaring their three-day-old strike ‘illegal’ and slamming the door on negotiations or pay revision as per the 6th Pay Commission “in these times”.
Chief minister BS Yediyurappa said, “Is your strike justified when people are suffering due to the pandemic? Rejoin duty today.”
The government called the strike ‘illegal’ under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 and referred the issue to the Industrial Tribunal. This is a precursor to the government acting tough against employees, including invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma).
The CM ruled out negotiations with the employees. He said the state government has pumped in Rs 2,300 crore towards transport employees’ salaries in the pandemic-hit 2020.
Govt relied on report
He said the government is not able to implement the wages as per the 6th Pay Commission now. “When you know we won’t (be able to) do it, why are you expecting it? It’s wrong. As transport employees, it is your duty to serve the people at this point of time. Listening to some unions and some people and going on strike is not right,” the CM added. The government order calling the strike illegal followed a report by the labour commissioner that said calling for strike is illegal while the employees and the employer were still holding talks.
According to the report, the employees had given the strike notice on March 18. At a hearing on April 5, the employees were asked not to go on strike till the conciliation process was over. But employees went ahead. The report said BMTC, KSRTC, NEKRTC and NWKSRTC are described as ‘public utility services’ under the Industrial Disputes Act and a strike amounts to violation of the Act.
“The government is ready for talks with the employees. If they fail to budge, then we will think of invoking Esma,” a senior labour officer said. Deputy CM Laxman Savadi warned employees against preventing their colleagues from returning to work.

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Sagar Biswas

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