A flash strike by a section of PRTC staff disrupted bus services on Thursday putting commuters and passengers to hardship.
INDIA: About 250 drivers and conductors, who were recruited to the PRCTC on contract, went on strike in protest against the alleged assault on a driver by “agents” of private bus operators near Jipmer junction on Wednesday night.
Several town and suburban services were disrupted between 5 a.m. and about 11 a.m.
The protesting contract staff demanded police protection to their cadre, which included women conductors, to pre-empt such attacks which were triggered by disputes over bus timing. They wanted the culprits behind the attack to be arrested.
The staff claimed that agents of private bus operators were using strong arm tactics to herd passengers away from PRCTC buses at vantage bus stops such as New Bus Stand, Indira Gandhi Statue, Anthoniyar Koil and Gorimedu.
The staff complained that whenever victims of assault or harassment preferred a police complaint action had not been taken because of the intervention of influential persons on behalf of the private operators, and this emboldened the offenders.
As the strike continued, senior officials of the PRCTC and the police held talks with representatives of the contract staff.
Assurance from police
Eventually, the staff called off the strike on the basis of assurance from the police that action would be taken to prevent such incidents.
According to a PRTC official, dispute over bus timings keep recurring and suggested stringent regulation by the Regional Transport Officer.
The registered trade unions of PRTC workers expressed solidarity with the contract employees but did not join the strike, a PRTC official said.
PRTC bus services were not affected in Karaikal, he added.