The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation Joint Action Committee on Tuesday said the transport workers’ union will ignore Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s November 5 deadline to resume duties and continue their strikes, ANI reported.

“We are going to protest in front of all RTC depot’s and later on the family members of RTC employees will also participate in the protest,” TSRTC President Ashwathama Reddy said. “We also request the conductors and drivers who are performing duties with RTC to join us in the protest.”

The deputy general secretary of the employees’ union, Mohammed Ahmed Ali, also reiterated its stand asking the government to resume talks to end the strike. “The chief minister is speaking as if he is a king and wants employees to join back services unconditionally,” Ali said. “All the unions have declared that the workers will not join back services without any agreement.”

The transport workers began the strike on October 5, demanding merger of the Road Transport Corporation with the government, recruitment to various posts, among others. However, Rao Rao has steadfastly refused to give in to the striking employees’ demands.

On Monday, the chief minister’s office said it has decided not to take back RTC workers who will not report for duty by November 5. The government said it was firm on giving permits to private vehicles in the remaining 5,000 routes if the workers do not join before the deadline ends and it will be the end of Road Transport Corporation in the state.

At a review meeting chaired by Rao, officials said union leaders were misleading the workers citing the proceedings in the High Court. “But according to legal experts, the High Court has not given any directives to the government on the strike,” a press release said. “There is nothing the court can do.”

“Going by past experience, the case in Supreme Court may drag on for months and years,” it added. “It will be a never-ending battle. Hence this will not do any good to the workers.”

On Saturday, Rao had announced the privatisation of 50% of the state’s bus services. The state government counsel even told the Telangana High Court that the employees on strike can’t be paid for the month of September because the corporation cannot dispense Rs 239 crore in salaries when it has less than Rs 10 crore in its coffers. The strike, they claimed, has caused the TSRTC a revenue loss of up to Rs 175 crore.

Three suicides, multiple incidents of employees suffering heart attacks, and another five suicide attempts have been reported ever since the strike began last month.

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