‘Govt. policy is to help RTC; ₹6,000 cr. given in 5 years’
The government has expressed willingness to form an independent society under it instead of floating a legally independent company, KSRTC-SWIFT, for operating long-distance buses under the proposed restructure of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
The offer to form the society was extended by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac on Friday to win over the three recognised trade unions of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) that are opposing the formation of the independent company.
At the talks in the presence of Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran and KSRTC Chairman and Managing Director Biju Prabhakar in the Secretariat here, Dr. Isaac said the formation of the society was the alternative that the government could offer.
The Finance Minister said the policy of the government was to help the public-sector undertaking and that the present government had provided ₹6,000 crore to the KSRTC in the past five years to keep it afloat. No government could go ahead like this, infusing funds into the KSRTC, he told the union leaders.
The government had announced in the Budget pay revision for the KSRTC personnel and a revival package. The government was of the view that the KSRTC employees should get better pay and allowances and the policy was to take back the retrenched staff. Dr. Issac appealed to the trade union leaders to see the changes taking place worldwide and to extend support to the revival initiatives being worked out by the management.
Staff on contract
The meeting was informed that even if a society was formed, the employees being posted would be on contract. The retrenched staff of the KSRTC would be taken back only to the Kerala Urban Transport Corporation (KURTC) based in Kochi.
The formation of the new company with headquarters at the Anayara KSRTC depot in the capital was to secure funds from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The move is to hand over long-distance, CNG, LNG, electric and JnNURM, Scania and Volvo buses to the new entity.
The INTUC-affiliated Transport Democratic Federation (TDF) and the BMS-affiliated Kerala State Transport Employees Sangh (KSTES) opposed the offer to form the society.
The CITU-affiliated Kerala State Road Transport Employees Association (KSRTEA) said they were ready to support the initiatives if the thrown out empanelled staff were taken back and salary and allowances of the KSRTC personnel on the rolls were assured.
R. Sasidharan, working president, and R. Ayyappan, vice president of TDF; Anathalvattom Anandan, president, and C. K. Harikrishnan, general secretary of KSRTEA; and K.L. Rajesh, general secretary of the KSTES took part in the meeting.