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Will Not Disrupt Functioning Of KSRTC: Trade Unions Before Kerala High Court In Plea Alleging Delay In Salary Disbursement

Athira Prasad
1 July 2022 3:21 PM GMT
Will Not Disrupt Functioning Of KSRTC: Trade Unions Before Kerala High Court In Plea Alleging Delay In Salary Disbursement
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The Kerala State Transport Employee Association informed the Kerala High Court on Friday that all strikes and disruptive activities on the premises of the KSRTC and its offices will be immediately ceased and that they will not disrupt the functioning of the KSRTC.

Justice Devan Ramachandran was hearing the plea moved by the KSRTC employees alleging that they were not being paid salary promptly when it observed that the situation could only be remedied if the State government participated in the matter.

"An immediate solution to the problems faced by the KSRTC may be possible only if the Government steps in and at least tries to avoid the overdraft faced by it with respect to the payment of salary. Going by the figures now available, the KSRTC is paying salary to the employees with the income that it generates in the next working month. Therefore, unless the gap in expenditure and payment of salary is somehow removed, the inevitable overdraft cannot be controlled."

When the matter was taken up today, Advocate T.P. Pradeep appearing on behalf of the Kerala State Transport Employee Association asserted that his client will not engage in activities that disrupt the functioning of KSRTC. All the counsels appearing for various Trade Unions also submitted that their activities will not in any manner disrupt the functioning of the KSRTC, its offices, schedules or its trips until the next posting date.

Meanwhile, the Special Government Pleader submitted that the Government has taken the views of this Court very seriously and that the Chief Minister will be chairing the meeting of the High-Level Committee within the next few days.

Justice Ramachandran further added that the suggestions of the KSRTC as made by Standing Counsel Deepu Thankan, that the ticket revenue be somehow enhanced to Rs.8 Crore or a day could be achieved only with the support of the employees also the Unions and any disruptive activities on their part, therefore, will make this object a chimaera and perhaps even unattainable.

While taking into consideration the request made by the Special Government Pleader, the Court granted the government a few more days and also made it clear that this shall not be construed to mean that the Court has diluted its intent to ensure that all employees are paid their salary at least in the first week of every month, if not the 5th of it.

Further clarifying, the Judge observed that it is only because the Chief Minister has agreed to chair a High-Level Meeting that this Court was granting more time. The matter will be taken up next on 11th July, and the earlier interim orders concerning the salary paid to the employees before the supervisory staff will remain and continue.

The plea filed through Advocates P. Nandakumar and Amrutha Sanjeev had alleged that the officers and supervisory personnel are paid their salary on time and that KSRTC first services their loans with the available income, thus relegating the payment of the salary to other employees – who have no other source of livelihood – to the least priority.

When the matter was taken up last month, the Court had found it a 'serious predicament' and had asked KSRTC to explain how it plans to become self-reliant and take care of its employees.

However, in its counter-affidavit, KSRTC had submitted that it was undergoing an acute financial crisis and that at present it was not feasible to formulate any scheme for prompt payment of salary on the first week of every month due to scarcity of funds. The Corporation asserted that it has been contemplating new measures to increase its productivity and thereby generate more revenue.

The petitioners also strongly prayed that the officials and supervisory personnel of KSRTC be ordered not to be paid their salaries until theirs were honoured. The Court found this request to be justified because otherwise the employees would feel discriminated against.

Case Title: R. Baji v. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation Ltd.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 317

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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