Travellers were put to inconvenience this morning when striking staff took buses of the road. Roadways staff of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking went on strike at Chandigarh’s Sector 43 bus stand.
No buses moved from the Sector 43 terminus from morning to afternoon. The agitation was to press Roadways staff demand for higher wages. The employees said that they had given warning that they were prepared to agitate, as their demands have not been met so far. However, whether or not the Roadways staff had sufficient cause for striking was of no concern to the passengers who faced no end of trouble. The scene at the Sector 43 bus stand was chaotic.
The bus employees claimed that they had been compelled to go on strike because the Punjab government has ignored their persistent demands. The Punjab Government comes into the picture because it determines the payscale not only of Punjab Roadways employees but the others as well. Pay scales of Himachal Roadways and the CTU are both pegged to the Punjab Pay Scale. This means that only when Punjab enhances the pay scale for its Roadways employees will the employees of Himachal Roadways and CTU get a pay hike. The employees say that despite the implementation of the pay commission their pay grade has remained the same.
They say that they have placed their demand for higher wages before the Punjab Government many times but each time have been turned away empty-handed. That is what led to today’s token strike at the Sector 43 bus stand.
In addition to employees in service, laid off employees of Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh roadways also joined the strike
The strike was organized under the common banner of the Action Committee of the North Zone Government Transport Employees Unions. The employees have warned that they will intensify their agitation if their demands are not met.
The brunt of the strike fell on bus passengers who were stranded and left wondering how to continue their journey. Autorickshaw drivers took full advantage of the strike and charged the maximum possible fares from those passengers who were desperate to reach their destinations.
Fortunately, the strike lasted only a few hours. Had the strike gone on all day there is no way passengers could have coped with the situation.
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