Karnataka bus services to be hit on Thursday due to strike by state road transport employees

Bus services across Karnataka are likely to be impacted on Thursday due to a strike by a big section of state road transport employees demanding to be recognized as government employees and at par facilities. Employees of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation apart from various regional transport corporations are planning to sit on a hunger strike at Freedom Park in the state capital. There are more than 1.36 lakh state-run road transport corporation employees who ply nearly 30,000 buses across various divisions.

The demand for treatment as government and not corporation employees is an old one but got a fillip in the recent past after transport employees in neighbouring Telangana successfully went on a 52 day strike with similar demand and achieved it. Anand, Joint Secretary of CITU, a trade union which has expressed support for the strike, said that 'while every effort would be made to ensure that the common man is not inconvenienced, we want the government to provide the same facilities to road transport employees as other employees of its various wings get. We expect at least 20,000 employees will participate in the protest".

Yogesh Gowda of BMTC drivers association also demanded that pay, medical, PF, gratuity and other benefits available to road transport employees must be on par with that of other government employees.

The government has appealed to the employees to discuss their demands with management instead of going on a hunger strike.

A senior officer of one of the transport corporations who spoke on the condition of anonymity said if all the demands of the employees are accepted, it would mean an additional burden of Rs 6500 crore on the state government.

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