After staying off road for more than a week, Punjab’s government buses will be back on road from Wednesday after the protesting contractual and outsourced employees of the state transport undertakings (STUs), including Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), Punjab Roadways and the Punbus, decided to postpone their strike till September 29.
The protestors, during a detailed meeting with the political adviser to the Chief Minister Capt Sandeep Sandhu besides other officials, were promised 30 percent increase in their salaries along with five percent hike every year. In addition, they were also assured to take the final call regarding their regularisation within a week’s time.
Taking note of the Government’s assurances, the protesting employees have, as of now, decided to suspend their ongoing strike while setting a 14-day deadline for the State Government to fulfil the assurances.
“They were demanding eight days, but we have given them 14 days. In case they fail to issue a notification in these 14 days, we will resume our ‘chakka jam’ on the fifteenth day,” said Punjab Roadways, Punbus, and PRTC Contract Workers’ Union’s state president Resham Singh Gill.
No less than 8200 roadways employees were agitating against the State Government since September 6, demanding regularisation of their services and increase in fleet size from around 2,500 buses at present to at least 10,000 and measures to check transport mafia.
Due to the ongoing strike, the general public is facing a lot of inconvenience. At the same time, the Government is also facing a loss of crores of rupees every day as out of 1,100 buses of PRTC, only 300 buses are plying on their route.
Among the protestors are the workshop staff, advance ticket bookers, drivers, and conductors in large numbers.
“The Government has assured a 30 percent hike in salary for the contractual and outsourced employees, along with five percent annual hike. They have assured that the notification in this regard will be issued by September 15,” said Gill.
As of now, the contractual conductors are getting a monthly salary of 9,118, while the drivers are getting Rs 10,200. The Union members claimed that with the hike, the drivers will now get around Rs 18,100 per month.
Regarding their demand of regularisation, the protesters have been assured that the decision will be soon be taken after discussing the same with the Chief Minister.
“We have been assured that our services will be regularised within a week. For this, the officers are saying that they need to discuss things, and seek legal opinion also. So we have given them two weeks instead of one they were asking for,” said Gill, adding, “From tomorrow, buses will start plying in the state”.
On demand of increasing the fleet size, Gill said that they were assured that 800 new buses will be added.