Responding to queries from media representatives, especially those related to the sacking of transport employees who were on an indefinite strike, Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar justified the action taken by State-owned transport corporations in their efforts to tackle the ongoing strike.
“We have declared the strike illegal on the basis of many factors. The call for the strike is illegal as it violated many norms, including the appointment of honorary president to the employees union and then, going on strike without proper notice. The government and the transport corporations that it owns have the right to take certain decisions to protect the interests of the people,” he said, addressing a media conference in Kalaburagi on Sunday.
On criticism that the Labour Department was not protecting the interests of employees and their rights to protest against injustice, the Minister said that his department had always stood by the employees whenever they raised their demands in legal ways.
“COVID-19 is spreading and people are suffering because of disruption in transport facilities due to the strike. The government is repeatedly appealing to the agitating employees to call off the strike and return to work to avoid inconvenience to the people. It has also made it clear that the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations cannot be applied to transport employees. The government has already fulfilled eight of their nine demands and the remaining one on revision of salaries cannot be addressed right now as the Model Code of Conduct is in force for the byelections. We have made it clear that we would address it soon after the expiry of the Model Code of Conduct and appealed to the agitating employees to call off the strike. Yet, the employees are rigid,” he said.
His colleagues in the Council of Ministers S.T. Somashekhar, B.C. Patil, B.S. Anand Singh and Murugesh Nirani were present.
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