PUNBUS contractual workers’ strike: Passengers left in lurch for third straight day

Commuters at various places in the state continued to have a horrid time for third consecutive day in Punjab as government buses went off roads following a strike called by the contract workers’ union of the Punjab Roadways and PEPSU Road Transport Corporation (PRTC).

The contract workers are protesting against the outsourcing of 28 drivers and for regularising their employment. Leading to crowded bus stands with people jostling for seats in private buses, the connectivity was badly affected due to strike.

People travelling from Ludhiana for work and vice versa had a horrid time.

Deepika from Chandigarh said, “I came from Chandigarh all the way standing in a private bus. There were very few government buses coming to Ludhiana. So, I boarded a private bus but there was not a single seat left as the bus was fully packed.”

Another Passenger Gurjit Singh said, “I came from Kapurthala to Ludhiana in a private bus. I waited for bus for an hour. I got late for my work due to bus connectivity.”

Union president for Ludhiana depot Satnam Singh said almost 100 buses have been stopped. “We appeal the government to fulfil our demands. The outsourcing of as many as 28 drivers in the department will not only affect us but it will put the life of people in danger as new recruitment on outsourcing is done without any trial or driving test.”

Addressing the workers from the gate of city depot, general secretary Gurpreet Baraich said, “Government is not paying any attention to the demands of contract workers. Today, the strike continued for the third day over the recruitment of 28 drivers through outsourcing but the government doesn’t seem serious about our issues.”

Giving details, state general secretary of the union Shamsher Singh said, “Our meeting with transport authorities will be held on Monday. We are expecting that government will fulfil our demands. The PRTC workers will also join strike on Monday.”

Meanwhile, general manager Punjab roadways Ludhiana Navraj Batish, said, “50% buses were plying today. Out of total 107 PUNBUS buses, only 40 were plying. Along with this, 17 PRTC buses were also running on their routes. After calculating the expenses, we have got loss of around 4 lakh due to strike in past three days.”