Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
Workers of Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC), handed over a 25-point memorandum to the GM Roadways. They have demanded immediate redressal of their long-pending demands. They announced a statewide strike and blockage of the operation of buses on 27 September if their demands are not fulfilled.
The protest was organised under the banner of Uttar Pradesh Roadways Karmchari Sangh.
Their major demands include
- Contractual drivers and bus conductors must be given salaries on the same pay scale as permanent and they must be regularised after one year’s service.
- Stop the operation of private vehicles and unauthorised buses plying on the national highway due to which the government is suffering a loss in revenue.
- Connect National Highways to rural roads,
- End victimisation of Union office bearers and activists,
Roadways Karmchari Sanyukt Parishad had organised several protests with the same demands.
UPSRTC has around 33,000 contractual drivers and conductors. Out of these, around 18,000 are conductors, and the rest 15,000 are drivers.
According to the union, there are only around 9,000 are permanent staff in UPSRTC, of which 3,000 are conductors and 6,000 are drivers.
Contractual drivers and conductors find it difficult to survive with such a low salary.
“Whenever we hit the road, officials say our jobs will officially be declared permanent in another 1-2 months. But we are having a tough time surviving with a meager salary,” said a driver.
After 2000, these contract workers have not been regularised.
Along with contractualisation of employees, transport buses have also been contracted out by UPSRTC. Nearly 26% of buses run by the Corporation are contract buses.
Central and state government undertakings have become the largest number of workers on contract, in complete violation of its own rules regarding employment of contract workers. This has given free license to private sector to employ contract workers even on larger scale instead of permanent workers.
Both government and capitalists use contract workers not only to maximise their profit by paying pittance to them but also to weaken the struggle of permanent workers against privatisation and in defence of their rights. It is therefore important for permanent workers to demand stoppage of the use of contract workers for jobs of regular and perennial nature and regularisation of already employed contract workers.