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HC says it can’t intervene in RTC strike; refers case to Labour Commissioner

Hyderabad, Nov.18 (PMI):The hearing on the ongoing strike by the RTC employees concluded in the Hyderabad High Court on Monday. The court directed the Labour Commissioner to take a decision on the ongoing strike within two weeks. The Court also made it clear that the Labour Commissioner alone has authority to decide whether the strike was legal or illegal.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Abhishek Reddy pointed out that the court too had its own limitations in dealing with the issue and clarified that they cannot rule that the RTC crew strike was illegal. They also observed that they cannot pressurize the State government to hold talks with the JAC leaders as it will be futile. The parleys should be held between the two contending parties across the table voluntarily in an amicable manner, the Bench felt.

Earlier, Additional Advocate-General Ramachander Rao submitted to the court that the RTC management cannot concede the demands of the RTC employees. He argued that the employees unions’ JAC did not follow rules and went on lightning strike which was totally illegal. He also pointed out to the court that the State government has extended maximum assistance financially to the Road Transport Corporation as it was embedded in huge losses. As the corporation’s financial condition was very bad, it cannot meet the financial demands of the employees. As the RTC has lost 44 per cent of revenue due to the lightning strike so far, the management cannot hold talks with the striking employees.

The Additional Advocate General further argued that even if the JAC leaders dropped their main demand temporarily, they might rake up the issue once again any time putting the Corporation and the State government in a piquant situation. He also said the some JAC leaders were pushing the corporation into losses with selfish interests. He also submitted to the court that some employees unions’ leaders joined hands with some leaders of Opposition parties with an intention to destabilize the government. The AAG also said the RTC employees’ strike was illegal as per Section 22(1)A of Industrial Disputes Act as the JAC  leaders did not serve notice on the management before resorting to the strike.

Advocate Jayaprakash Reddy, representing the RTC Union’ JAC, submitted to the court that  the striking crew was ready to  call off the strike and resume duties. But the RTC MD, in his affidavit, told the court that the management was not willing to take back employees. He pleaded with the court to direct the management and the State government to allow the crew to resume their duties.

  Meanwhile, the strike entered the 45th day on Monday. The JAC had subsequently announced that it was ready to temporarily set aside the demand for merger, but the Government stood firm and maintained that the strike was an attempt to destablize the government in connivance with some Opposition parties.

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