Vijayawada: As part of the cost cutting exercise, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) offered Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) to its employees, who are more than 52 years of age and have completed minimum 20 years of regular service.
The APSRTC, one of the biggest transport organisations in the country, is facing the burden of losses over Rs 3600 crore and been trying to reduce the expenditure. The organisation is also facing burden of diesel price hike from the last one year and been finding ways and means to reduce the expenditure.
The total staff of the RTC is over 53,000. Of them, the drivers and conductors comprise about 40,000. Interestingly, majority staff among the drivers and conductors in the age group of 45 to 55 as they were recruited during the drive taken up 20 years ago.
The APSRTC management has offered the VRS and announced to pay package comprises of monetary benefits. The RTC has announced some conditions to the employees to avail the VRS facility. It also released a chart of monetary benefits to be given to the retiring staff.
Employees who seeks VRS should clear all the dues towards the loans/advances availed from the corporation, should not be under unauthorised absenteeism or suspension and should not be facing serious charges that may culminate in removal and should not be involved in any ACB/Criminal cases The RTC has asked the Trade union linked to the APSRTC to give reply in two days to the management. The VRS proposal came against the wish of the majority employees.
Most trade unions have been demanding the government to take over the APSRTC and abolish the contract and out sourcing system in employment. In this backdrop, the State government instead of taking over the RTC, is now, offered the VRS.
The APSRTC Staff and Workers Federation General Secretary Ch Sundara Rao opposed the VRS offered by the RTC. He said the VRS is aimed at downsising the staff and an attempt to privatise the RTC. He said rural transportation will be severely affected if the RTC is privatised.
He said SWF is opposing the VRS. He said the Government must consider the public transport a service organisation which is similar to medical-health and allocate funds regularly. He said the government instead of rendering support to the RTC is now been trying to privatise by gradually downsising the staff.