New Delhi: Commuters who use public transport buses in Delhi may face hardship as unions of DTC employees will be on strike on Monday.

The DTC contractual workers are on strike under the banner of DTC Contractual Workers Union since October 22, demanding the restoration of their original wages that were slashed by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) after a court order.

11,286 contractual drivers and conductors have been refusing to work for want of better wages.

Here’s what the workers are demanding:

•    Better working conditions and better pay.
•    That the DTC should withdraw a circular reducing the wages of contractual workers.
•    Same pay for same work for everyone.
•    To stop privatisation of public transport through rampant outsourcing of work.
•    An expansion of DTC bus fleet

The strike will keep 3,700 DTC buses off the road.

The DTC Workers Unity Centre too has given a call of the strike on Monday.

Meanwhile, the DTC in a press statement said, "The Delhi government restored the minimum wage rates which were prevailing before August 4, 2018, of contractual employees and withdrew the orders for reducing the minimum wage."

The deduction in wages made for the intervening period from August 4 till October 31 will be credited to the accounts of the personnel by the end of this month, it said.

The DTC has appealed the contractual staff to resume their duties at the earliest.

The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi had imposed Essential Service Maintenance Act, 1974 on DTC for six months banning all strikes for six months.

Ahead of the DTC strike on Monday, the Delhi government imposed the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on Saturday, prohibiting the contractual employees from agitating for the next six months.

Also read: DTC workers to go on strike on October 29; govt imposes ESMA to prevent further agitation

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal invoked ESMA citing bus transport as an "essential service" for the people of the city.

Trade union leaders, students, and activists held a press conference on Sunday in support of the DTC strike.
All the organisations and individuals addressing the press conference were of the opinion that the Delhi government should immediately fulfill the demands of the DTC workers and at the same time undertake the immediate expansion of DTC which is the backbone of affordable, accessible, safe and robust public transport system in Delhi.

JNUSU President N Sai Balaji said, “On behalf of JNUSU, we express our support and solidarity with the movement of DTC workers. Today due to hike in metro fares, Delhi Metro has become unaffordable for students and the DTC is the most affordable, accessible and pollution-free mode of public transport for students in Delhi. We strongly urge the Delhi government. to fulfill the demands of the DTC workers.”

All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) Delhi President Santosh Roy said, “Today when the DTC workers are prepared to go on strike the AAP government. is spreading canards that the strike is BJP sponsored, nothing can be further from the truth. Transport workers in BJP ruled states of Haryana and Rajasthan are waging a huge struggle against the privatization of public transport like DTC workers are doing in Delhi. The BJP-supported BMS trade union has not said a single word in support of the strike.”

“The BJP government has unleashed brutal repression on workers of Haryana Roadways but are trying to claim that they support DTC workers, we will not tolerate such double speak and expose their real agenda. It is clear that both the BJP and the AAP are anti-worker and have consistently taken anti-worker policy decisions. The movement of the DTC workers is happening on the strength of unprecedented unity of permanent and contract workers of DTC and we will not allow the movement to be hijacked by any opportunistic forces,” he added.

With agency inputs