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strike by employees illegal, they are not entitled to salaries

The TSRTC management further said that they have powers to deduct salaries and recover losses from the protesting employees.

The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) management on Wednesday told the Telangana High Court that the workers are not entitled to salaries as they went on an ‘illegal’ strike. The court was hearing a writ petition filed by Telangana Jathiya Mazdoor Union seeking a direction for the payment of salaries for the month of September.

Additional Advocate General J Ramchander Rao representing the TSRTC management, however, told the court that the management is vested with powers not only to deduct salary of the workers who went on the ‘illegal’ strike but is also empowered to recover losses suffered by the Corporation during the strike period under the provisions of the Payment of Wages Act. The AAG further contended that the high court cannot issue any direction in the issue, The Hindu reported.

According to the management, the 52-day strike by the TSRTC employees which began on October 5 was ‘illegal.’ The merits of the strike’s legality have been transferred to the Labour Commissioner by the High Court. The labor court is yet to make a decision on this. Though the 48,000-odd employees called off their strike on Monday, the government refused to take them back, stating that they would take a call on the matter only after the Labour court hears the matter and passes directions.

The New Indian Express reported that after hearing the arguments, the court said that prima facie appeared that the employees were entitled to the salary. However, as the petitioner’s counsel couldn’t make a convincing argument contesting the AAG’s observation, Justice Shavili directed them to come prepared for the next hearing scheduled for December 4.

It must be recalled that earlier in October, the court had asked the management to pay the salary for the month of September to the protesting workers. However, the TSRTC management expressed its helplessness and said that it requires Rs 239 crore to pay the salaries to over 48,000 employees while it had only Rs 7.49 crore.

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