Karnataka state-owned transport corporation employees, who were on strike since December 10, called it off on Monday evening following talks with the state government. Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha president Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, who was leading the transport agitation, announced the end to the strike at the Freedom Park here.
"We are calling off our strike as the state government has accepted nine out of 10 demands," Chandrashekhar announced. Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who holds the transport portfolio, expressed happiness over the development.
"I am happy that the strike has been called off. I also greet the people of Karnataka who stood by the government," Savadi told reporters here.
The employees' key demands were compensation equivalent to the corona warriors who died in the line of duty due to COVID-19 and recognising them as government employees and salaries paid accordingly. With no end to the strike in sight, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday called a meeting with his cabinet colleagues including Savadi, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Revenue Minister R Ashoka and Social Welfare Minister B Sriramulu.
Later, Savadi met with the representatives of the agitating employees. In the minutes of the meeting released to the media, Savadi said the demand for compensation on par with corona warriors would be given.
He did not spell out anything on the second demand of the agitators to recognise them as government employees. He , however, said the government will consider one of the demands on implementing the sixth pay commission report after taking into account its financial condition.
Following the assurance to consider paying salaries as recommended in the sixth pay commission, the protesting employees agreed to call off the strike. "Our demand to be recognised as government employees will remain.
We are not compromising on that," Chandrashekhar told the agitating employees, many of whom had camped at the Freedom Park with their families. Soon after the strike was called off, city bus, inter-city and inter-state bus services resumed.
According to the KSRTC and the BMTC officials, the bus services will resume fullscale from Tuesday. Nearly 1.25 lakh employees of the various state owned transport corporations and the 33,000 Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation employees had gone one strike putting the daily commuters of Bengaluru, inter-city and inter-state passengers to hardship.
To bail out daily commuters, the government had assigned private transporters to run city buses and inter- state buses but that did not help the commuters much as they were overcharging, a few passengers told PTI. A KSRTC Union leader K Prakash, who was part of the agitation, claimed the Sixth Pay Commission report was not among the demands.
"We had only two demands — compensation on par with corona warriors and recognising us as government employees. We don't know how this Sixth pay commission popped up. We also don't know how the nine demands surfaced," Prakash added.