Shimla: A strike by employees of the state-run Himachal Road Transport Corp. (HRTC) ended on Wednesday, a little over 24 hours after the shutdown started.
“Buses resumed service on all intra and inter-state routes this morning (Wednesday) as the government agreed to most of the demands of the employees,” a government spokesperson told IANS. Defying the Himachal Pradesh High Court order, over 10,000 Roadways employees started their two-day strike across the state on Monday night. The employees were demanding regularisation of the contract staff and pension benefits. Earlier, a meeting between the government and the employees’ leaders was held in Shimla to resolve the issue amicably, but the talks failed.
“A meeting with the striking employee leaders was held on Tuesday and they were apprised about the high court orders, especially the part that they must call off strike by 5.00 p.m. on Wednesday, but they refused to call off the strike,” a statement by HRTC Managing Director Ashok Tewari said. President of the Joint coordination committee of HRTC Employees Pawan Guleria said they were forced to resort to strike due to the adamant attitude of the state government over their long-pending demands. He said the government was given a notice in advance about the two-day strike.
Acting tough against the protesting employees, the state high court on Monday declared the strike illegal and issued a directive for its immediate withdrawal, while asking the state to look into the employees’ demands. On Tuesday, the high court said any decision to join and continue the strike would be held a contempt of court. The HRTC with over 2,500 buses has been suffering losses but has been crucial to the state and its economy as the Roadways buses connect far-flung villages with urban areas.-IANS
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