September 28, 2020

Strike threatens to paralyse tourism

Patna: Around 250 employees of Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC), under the banner of Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation Employees’ Association, will go on an indefinite strike from Saturday to press their charter of demands, including equal pay for equal work.

The standoff between the tourism department and the employees’ association will paralyse the tourism-centric amenities and services throughout the state.

The indefinite strike will slam brakes on booking for all hotels run by BSTDC, Volvo bus services on the Patna-Ranchi route, pre-paid taxi services at Patna airport, the floating restaurant MV Ganga Vihar on river Ganga at Patna, laser shows at Golghar, ropeway at Rajgir, sound, light and laser show at Maya Sarovar in Bodhgaya and wildlife package at Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bettiah among others.

This will be the association’s fifth strike in three years. The last time the association had resorted to an indefinite strike was on December 15, 2016, crippling services related to the tourism sector.

The association, affiliated to the Indian National Trade Union Congress (Intuc), is demanding equal pay for equal work, regularisation of services of contract workers, implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission, revision of salaries, reinstating employees who have been earlier transferred, stopping recruitment of retired employees and putting an end to privatisation of hotels.

Association spokesperson Ajay Kumar said: “Even the state government is not abiding by the 2015 high court order, directing employees who had completed 10 years of service be given salary based on the principle of equal pay-equal work.”

“Our demand is that even those employees who have not completed 10 years of service be given revised salaries as their salaries have not been revised since 2007 based on Bihar Contractual Services Rules, 2007,” added Ajay.

The BSTDC Employees’ Association claimed that the BSTDC administration had floated a proposal for “equal pay for equal work” by early-2015 but it was later swept under the carpet.

“Former BSTDC managing director Anupam Kumar Suman had floated the proposal for the same. But all managing directors after him kept dilly-dallying on the matter,” said Ajay, adding: “Even the corresponding file was sent to the finance department and the general administration department, both of which gave approval. However, the matter is still pending owing to lack of willingness on the part of the government.”

Association general secretary Lakshmi Kumar said: “We also demand vigilance investigation into the tender scam and mobilisation advance scam along with vigilance investigation against Prabhash Chandra Roy, the deputy general manager (finance and accounts), for various charges levelled against him by the association and his removal.”

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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