SRTC agitation to move to Jammu with Durbar
Srinagar, Oct 20: The stalemate between the government and the striking State Road Transport Corporation employees is likely to enforce mass movement of hundreds of workers to Jammu to continue the agitation with Durbar move at the end of this month. The deadlock has made life miserable of around 3742 families over past nearly two months.
While the SRTC Workers Association has already announced Jammu Chalo of all employees forthwith Durbar move, process is on to make final arrangements for making the program successful. The Association is likely to intensify the ongoing protests and rallies here in the coming days.
“The government has so far done nothing to address our demands apart from mere assurances. We are forced to continue our agitation and protests will continue in Jammu as they were going on in Kashmir for the past 56 days. All employees in Kashmir will move to Jammu along with the Durbar,” the chairman of the Association, Shakeel Kuche told Greater Kashmir.
“Initially the employees will move to Jammu but if government’s negligent approach continues our families will join us. We’ll also intensify the protests in Kashmir before Durbar moves to winter capital,” he added.
The employees have been on a strike since August 26 and all operations in the state have been closed down. The strike started in demand of then four months pending salaries, which has now swelled to six months, and one time solution to employees’ problems.
Kuchee said there have been three “incomprehensive” meetings between the Association and the government recently.
“The government is ready to pay us pending salaries of four months but there are only assurances for the rest of our demands. We are not ready to accept it because that doesn’t solve our problems. If we accept pending salaries this time we may again have to come on roads after a few months,” he feared.
Meanwhile, the families of the employees have been facing a tough time for past several months due to severe financial crisis. The protests by employees have seen an equal participation by their family members.
“It is better to protest with my father rather than going to the school where I’ve to face mental torture for not being able to pay my fees. My father hasn’t given me a penny for school for past six months and I’m afraid I may not be allowed to sit in the examination this year,” said Saima, daughter of an employee who has been working as a driver in SRTC.
A wife of an employee wishing anonymity, said, “We have been borrowing money from our relatives to survive but even that option has died down now. We are forced to sell our property to provide food to our children,” said.
“I’m ready to move to Jammu with my husband to press on their genuine demands. We want an end to this long lasting problem of pending salaries which has been haunting us time and again,” she added.
The government, however, claims that the negotiations were on with the employees and it had a stepwise proposal to address their demands.
“We are ready to pay their salaries but for rest of the demands we have step wise proposal,” minister for transport Kamar Ali Akhoon said, adding, “There is a loss of 3 crores every month and we are going to restructure the corporation step by step.”
Asked about response to Jammu Chalo call, he said, “The employees shall give away protest and work together for the benefit of people. They shall resume duties,” he said.
He said the government was ready to offer voluntary retirement to employees. “If anyone wants to go we have not problem in paying their pensioner benefits,” he said, adding, “None of the employees have opted for VRS.”
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Oct 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Oct 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 21 Oct 2009 00:00:00 IST
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