Leaders of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) Employees Union (EU) are eagerly waiting for November 15, the day when the working committee constituted by the government to look into the micro-level issues with regard to the merger of the Corporation in government, will submit its report.
This doesnt seem like the merger we had asked for, said Y.V. Rao, State president of the union. Leaders of the union feel that the APSRTC was headed for privatisation, the only difference being that unlike Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who is openly talking about privatisation of the corporation in that State, his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy was trying to do it on the sly.
Both, the merger committee headed by former IPS officer Anjaneya Reddy and the RTC officials have made it clear that since merger of the corporation with the government was not possible due to technical issues, the employees are being shifted to the Public Transport Department created to take them into the government fold.
The government move of inviting tenders from private players to operate the proposed electric buses has not gone down well with the union leaders, who now realise what it meant when they were repeatedly told to forget about the corporation and bother only about factors like if we are getting salaries in time and if our others needs are taken care of.
There is a difference between our pay scales and the government employees scales. If a parity is not brought about, the merger will not make any sense to us. Also, there is no clarity about the pension facility, one of our main demands. We want implementation of the old pension scheme and not the EPF or the new National Pension Scheme, said another leader.
The leaders point out that huge money would have to be invested in procurement of electric buses which would be operated by private crew. The indications are that the APSRTC may cease to exist in future, said a leader.
Meanwhile, protesting against the decisions of the RTC Board that met recently, the union leaders Mr. Rao and secretary Damodar Rao announced a two-day State-wide protest on November 12 and 13.
They demanded roll back of the decision not to give jobs to the 170 applicants who were children of medically unfit RTC employees and to increase the qualification for conductor posts among other issues.