Thousands of striking Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees refused to return to work and vowed to intensify their protest even as the deadline set by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expired on Monday midnight.
RTC Telangana Mazdoor Union working president M Thomas Reddy told that over 40,000 employees would not join work unless the government holds discussion with them on their demands.
"At the central committee meeting held yesterday (Monday), we decided not to resume work as the government has not fulfilled our demands and has not come forward to discuss with us," Reddy said.
He further said that the employees were ready to shun one of their 26 demands -- for the merger of TSRTC into the government. "But the government would have come forward to hold discussion with us for remaining demands," he said.
Reddy said: "Our strike will continue further till the government doesn't come forward to hold discussions with us on our demands."
Lakhs of people are going to march in solidarity with the RTC employees on November 9, he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, TSRTC Joint Action Committee president Ashwathama Reddy also conveyed the employees' decision to continue boycotting work, in defiance to the chief minister's deadline. "We are boycotting KCR's call to join back services before November 5. We are going to protest in front of all RTC depots and later on the family members of RTC employees will also participate in the protest," he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, the Deputy General Secretary of the Employees Union, Mohammed Ahmed Ali also said that the RTC workers will not return to service without any agreement with the government.
The Telangana Chief Minister's Office on Monday issued warned the striking TSRTC staff that if they fail to resume duty by the deadline of November 5, the state government will not take them back.
Employees of the TSRTC have been on strike for the past few weeks now. Earlier this week, they intensified their indefinite protest against the sacking of over 40,000 employees by the state government.
During the ongoing protest, a few TSRTC employees have lost their lives either by committing suicide or depressed by the demonstration.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of TSRTC has been on a strike since October 5 demanding merger of the corporation with the state government and revision of pays among other demands.
( With inputs from ANI )