Kozhikode: The employees of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) waylaid State Transport Minister Antony Raju in protest against the recurring delays in disbursing their salaries.
The employees, who belong to two unions - the Swatantra Thozhilali Union (STU) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), staged their protest when the minister was returning from a function at Chathamangalam in Kozhikode. The police were called in quickly to remove the agitators. Few arrests were also made.
The protests came in wake of a recent order by the Kerala High Court which suggested that what salaries remained pending still could be resolved by issuing coupons or vouchers, which are redeemable at the stores owned or controlled by the State government.
The Unions have made it clear that its members would not accept any coupons. The CITU even said that the new decision to issue coupons was a big insult to KSRTC employees.
Minister Raju has clarified that the state transport corporation would not impose these coupons on anyone. He said those who wish to avail them may do so.
He said depots have been instructed to get a count on those who are interested in availing coupons. The final decision on whether to issue coupons will be taken once it is clear there is enough interest, the minister added.
Raju also said that the disbursal of salaries will begin either on Saturday or Monday.
Earlier, the High Court had ordered the State government to immediately sanction Rs 50 crore it had promised for paying salaries to KSRTC staff and use the amount to disburse one-third of the July and August salaries to the staff. It had directed KSRTC to pay the salary by September 6.