Ludhiana, September 20
The government bus services were severely impacted when contractual employees affiliated with the Punjab Roadways, PUNBUS, and PRTC Contract Workers Union Punjab initiated a strike on Wednesday. Consequently, a significant number of passengers encountered difficulties and many were compelled to opt for private buses. However, the union later postponed the strike in the afternoon.
Numerous passengers remained unaware of the strike till they arrived at the Amar Shaheed Sukhdev Interstate Bus Terminal in the city. Meanwhile, some were seen waiting at the bus stand, hoping for the resumption of the bus services.
A passenger said she and her daughter had intended to travel to Sangrur via a government bus in the morning but they subsequently came to know about the strike by contractual employees.
She said: “Government buses offer free fares for women but now we have to pay for travelling in a private bus. In the end, such strikes only inconvenience the common man.”
According to reports, over 100 buses from the Ludhiana depot remained off roads during the strike. Contractual employees also staged a protest outside a local depot, demanding salary increase, reinstatement of expelled employees and job regularisation for contractual employees.
Shamsher Singh from the union said they had initiated the strike as their demands had not been met. However, after a meeting with Transport Minister Laljit Singh Bhullar on Wednesday, the union decided to postpone the strike.
“During the meeting between the union delegation and the panel, which included the minister and officials from the Transport Department, discussions were held to address some of our demands. The authorities ordered implementation of the accepted demands that include a 5 per cent wage increase and the reinstatement of blacklisted employees. Furthermore, orders were issued to stop unauthorised bus operations and to improve the department’s profitability,” said union members.
The union members said, “We were also assured that other demands, such as the regularisation of contractual employees and the resolution of salary disparities, will be addressed in an upcoming meeting with the Chief Minister.”
“Therefore, we have temporarily postponed our strike and decided to resume bus services. If our demands are not met in the forthcoming meeting, we will be compelled to initiate further protest,” they added.
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