MORE than three crore road transport workers in state-transport, private passenger transport, goods transport and small passenger transport like auto, taxi etc., have staged a magnificent strike action throughout the country on August 7. This strike was to voice their protest against the draconian Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill (MVAB) which is still pending for enactment by parliament.
The draconian bill presented by the Modi government is a design for paving the way for destruction of State-owned public transport corporations. The bill if passed will expedite the process of complete privatisation of public transport system and take-over of them by big private corporates leading to monopolisation and enhancement of the public transport fares. This Bill will also lead to mass-scale victimisation of the road transport workers engaged in both public transport and goods transport including the small transport operators. The strike was also against the frequent rise in diesel and petrol prices making the public transport costlier for the people at large. There are other issues too.
The All India Coordination Committee of Road Transport Workers Organisations comprising all road transport workers’ unions affiliated to CITU, AITUC, INTUC, HMS, AIUTUC, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC and TUCC had jointly called for the strike action on August 7, 2018.
The strike was total in Kerala, Bihar, Odisha, Pondicherry, Assam and J&K. In Haryana, state transport was virtually off the road and private transporters also joined the strike in a big way. The Bihar petrol pump workers also went on strike. In Assam there was total strike in private sector. In West Bengal, more than 80 percent workers went on strike in rural areas. In Tamil Nadu, the strike was total in private sector and 60 percent of STU workers went on strike. In MP, there was total strike in 30 districts and partial in other districts. In Uttarakhand, the STU buses were off the road. In Meghalaya there was strike except in flood affected areas. In Telangana the strike was total in STU and 75 percent workers in private sector participated in the strike. In AP, auto, taxi and lorry workers participated in 13 districts to ensure the success of the strike.
There was partial strike in Tripura, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. In Sikar and Jaipur, the auto-workers went on strike. In Jharkhand there was strike in eight districts. In Delhi, about 25 percent autos went on strike. In Chhattisgarh, there was strike in five districts.
The CITU, in a statement issued on August 7, has congratulated the road transport workers and their trade unions for the massive country wide united strike action against the retrograde MVAB. CITU demands that the Modi government must take a call from this magnificent strike action and withdraw the draconian bill forthwith.