The united actions of the workers of Haryana Roadways (10th-14th April 2017) have forced the Haryana government to concede some of the demands of the workers. Government had to reinstate all 120 workers who were union activists and were expelled during the course of this struggle. Government also had to take back the new transport policy which had precipitated the strike.
The new transport policy was first announced in November 2015 by the Haryana Government and provided for award of 1600 permits to private operators to ply over 250 routes. The Policy was notified on Feb 17th this year.
Workers fear that this is a step in the direction of privatisation of Haryana Roadways and through this policy, all the profitable routes will be cornered by private operators and the State Roadways will be made sick providing justification for the government to take further steps for fully privatising it.
Over two lakh workers of the state government, boards and corporations have been pressing for various demands for many years, including abolishment of contractual system and outsourcing of work, filling up of vacancies, regularisation of part-time employees, and cancellation of permits to private bus operators. The recent strike was to demand cancellation of 853 permits granted to private operators under the new policy.
When talks between the Union representatives and government broke down and the government insisted on granting new permits, workers had no option but to go on strike. The unity of all the unions has made the strike successful. In an attempt to break the strike, the state government placed 120 of the activists under suspension order on 11th April. The worker remained resolute and intensified the strike. On 13th April, the government acceded to the demand of taking back the new policy and that of reinstatement of all suspended workers. However, the government has refused to cancel the permits granted to private operators in the past.
Long live the unity of the workers in opposing the privatisation plans of the government, which will ultimately make the users of the road transport service pay for the profits of the private operators.