Monday, October 14, 2019

BRTC workers call off strike

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-01-09 12:38:09 BdST

Transport workers at BRTC’s Joar Sahara bus depot have called off their strike after receiving assurances over the release of nine months’ back pay on Wednesday.

The announcement came after Deputy Police Commissioner Mushtaq Ahmed assured workers that their pending salaries will be paid in instalments and urged them to return to work.

The workers who began the strike on Tuesday called off the strike around 12:00pm and were seen driving their buses out of the depot.

Depot Manager Md Noor Alam said that the workers will receive one month’s wages by 1 pm on Wednesday. The back pay for another month will be cleared by Jan 31 while the remainder of the dues will be cleared in several instalments until July.

The BRTC Joar Sahara Bus Depot operates 120 buses including double-deckers and air-conditioned buses. The workers are paid from the fares charged on these buses.

But losses in recent years have meant that the nearly 500 workers employed at the depot face regular delays to their salary.

The workers locked the gates to the bus depot on Tuesday morning to press for a number of demands including the release of their pending salaries.

The strike halted service of government-provided public buses on the Abdullahpur-Motijheel, Gabtali-Gazipur, Kuril Biswa Road-Pachdona routes and staff buses for government institutions.

On Tuesday, BRTC Chairman Farid Ahmed Bhuiyan met the agitating workers and urged them to return to work, assuring them of clearing dues in the three months.

But the workers refused to call of their indefinite strike and once again set out to demonstrate on Wednesday morning.

Mushtaq Ahmed, deputy police commissioner (Gulshan) subsequently defused the workers’ unrest by providing assurances over the payment of their dues.

“I was informed of the situation by the BRTC chairman yesterday,” Ahmed told “I went and spoke to the workers today and they were satisfied with the assurance of payment.”

“This was an undesirable situation. I’ve told the drivers and workers to keep me informed on any developments. I’ll be keeping an eye on this situation as well,” he added.

The BRTC has 22 depots across the country, six of which are in Dhaka. About 3,000 drivers, technicians, office assistants and security guards work at these depots. They receive third- and fourth-class pay according to the public sector wage scale.

The bus drivers at the Joar Sahara depot had also launched a protest in July of last year. At that time, they were owed 10 months in back pay.