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Posted at: Jul 19, 2019, 8:53 AM; last updated: Jul 19, 2019, 8:53 AM (IST)

BRTS buses off road as staff protest salary delay

Allege irregular salary disbursement has been a regular affair
BRTS buses off road as staff protest salary delay
BRTS employees hold a demonstration in Amritsar on Thursday. Photo: Sunil Kumar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 18

Employees of the metro bus service, running under the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), staged a protest against non-payment of salaries on Thursday. The buses remained off road due to the protest. The BRTS project, initiated in January this year, is in financial crisis.

Passengers came to know about the strike after reaching their respective boarding stations. With no service, they had to take services of auto-rickshaws. The agitating employees said they didn’t receive salaries for a month.

The BRTS Employees’ Welfare Union, which held the protest at the depot, demanded immediate release of salaries. Association president Swaran Singh Malhi said, “Ideally, the employees should get salaries in the first week of every month. Salaries have been disbursed irregularly in the past as well. Now, the delay is worrying the employees.”

“We know that our livelihood depends on the success of the service. But the administration should also understand that the drivers cannot have peace of mind till they are paid. We have also demanded better working environment for the employees,” he said.

Association general secretary Mandeep Kaler said, “We don’t have any provision of drinking water, washroom and other amenities. We have not been issued health insurance cards and details of GPF accounts. The drivers are also unnecessarily harassed in case of a minor accidents.”

Drivers said that even as the entry of private vehicles to BRTS corridors was prohibited, in case of accidents in the corridor, the drivers have to manage the affairs with the police and other officials. “The company should stand with its employees when they are not at any fault,” said Kaler.

The employees also submitted a memorandum regarding their demands with the management and stated that they would not resume work till salaries are paid.

Meanwhile, BRTS CEO Inderjit Singh Chawla said salaries would be paid shortly. He claimed that buses would run as regularly from Friday.

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