Transport workers’ strike brings life in city to a halt
LUDHIANA: As employees of the Punjab Roadways and Punbus Contractors Workers' Union held a daylong strike here on Monday, the commuters and passengers had to bear the brunt of adversely hit bus service in the area. Owing to the absence of employees, the authorities had to cancel buses from the city to Ferozepur, Fazilka, Jalandhar, Amritsar and other areas.
An official, on the condition of anonymity, said: "The services were suspended on the routes having fewer passengers and where the private bus services were active. Regularised employees are carrying out services on the local and important routes, including Delhi and Chandigarh. Despite all our efforts, the passengers had to face problems." General manager SK Sharma said the strike did not cause any inconvenience to the passengers and the services were running smooth.
Surinder Kumar, a local resident and daily commuter, said: "I am working with a government hospital near Fazilka. After spending the weekend at home, I was waiting for the bus and was disappointed to know about the strike. I had to wait for hours at the stop."
Gurtej Singh, general secretary of Punjab Roadways and Punbus Contractors Workers' Union, said: "Four years ago, "The Privatiser", a private com- pany, hired around 4,200 employees on contract for the Punjab Roadways. The regular employees, including drivers, conductors and those working at workshops, are paid Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 monthly, but the employees working on contract are getting between Rs 3,500 and Rs 5,000 per month."
Union president Kamal Kumar said: "As per the Factories' Act 1948, employees have to work for eight hours and nine hours in case of overtime. But, the contractual employees here are forced to work for more than 12 hours."
He said: "Besides this, they are even deprived of guaranteed holidays, outstation allowance and other miscellaneous allowances." MONDAY