Empanelled bus crew of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) who’re in dire straits after the company discontinued their companies in March 2020 are on the warpath, with most of them bereft of another supply of revenue.
Many of them had been recruited over a decade in the past from the Employment Exchange checklist and are unable to use for brand spanking new jobs since they’re both of their center age or have crossed it.
“I joined the KSRTC as a driver in 2010 and served until March 2020, after the company cited a High Court order to discontinue our companies, mentioned TK Santosh, from Kolenchery.
“Being the sole breadwinner of my family, I am now finding it difficult to look after my family, including educational expenses of two children and my aged mother. Most like me have little or no savings either, since all that we got was ₹500 per duty day. On an average, a driver did no more than 13 duties each month, since we needed to take a break to sleep,” he says.
There are over 1,200 such empanelled personnel who were employed as drivers, conductors and mechanics till March 2020. “Neither the government and the management nor the trade unions are taking up our cause. We are unable to register for new jobs since we have not been served relieving orders. In this situation, the KSRTC or the government must provide us at least ₹3,000 per month for our sustenance. We must also be reinstated into the rolls of KSRTC or KSRTC-Swift once normal services resume,” he said.
Then there are others like AV Bindumol of Muvattupuzha and TM Rafeeq of Kangarapady — empanelled crew who worked for over a decade in the agency, following which their services were discontinued in March 2020. Both pleaded that the KSRTC or the government should extend urgent help to sustain their families.
State secretary of Kerala State Transport Workers’ Union (INTUC) Aliyar MI said empanelled workers are amongst the worst hit since they are not eligible for getting monetary relief under the government’s welfare schemes, because they were considered KSRTC employees all through. “They have been left to fend for themselves, though we submitted many memoranda to the federal government,” he added.
Responding to the predicament of empanelled workers, the CMD of KSRTC Biju Prabhakar said the agency, which is finding it difficult to pay the salaries of even permanent employees, is in no position to extend them any monetary help. “The greatest that we will do is to accommodate just a few of them in KSRTC-Swift, which might be an unbiased entity, because the High Court directed discontinuation of their companies within the KSRTC. Unfortunately, we’re unable to represent KSRTC-Swift since two unions have challenged its formation earlier than the High Court,” he mentioned.
Yet one other chance is to nominate eligible personnel in a lorry division that has been envisaged, whereby KSRTC would be capable to function and preserve lorries of different authorities departments, Mr. Prabhakar added.