Calcutta, Oct. 7: Minister Madan Mitra today urged transport sector employees to join the Trinamul-backed union, saying the move would reduce the threat of strikes.
“If transport sector employee become members of the ruling party’s union, it would reduce strikes in the state. Their grievances will be considered by the government,” Mitra said at Writers’ Buildings.
Asked how such a switch would put brakes on strikes, the transport minister said that the employees of bus organisations, once under Trinamul, would keep themselves off such protests in keeping with Mamata Banerjee’s wishes.
The minister’s comments came on a day members of three private bus workers’ unions in Calcutta owing allegiance to the Congress switched to Trinamul.
Bus operators and workers have been on the war path with the government after it refused to hike fares — they were raised the last time in October 2012 — despite rising fuel prices.
The government persuaded bus operators across the state to call off a two-day strike last month.
Mitra’s appeal to bus owners and workers today was criticised by the Left-backed Citu, which had traditionally dominated most private bus and mini-bus unions across the state.
But Citu’s numbers have dwindled after Trinamul formed the government in 2011. Citu leaders said their members came down to 29,000 in 2012 from 34,000 a year ago.
“How can a minister make such a statement? The Trinamul government wants to destroy the Left unions as we have been steadily opposing this government’s policy to do away with the state-run transport corporations and bring in more private players,” said Subhas Mukherjee, a Citu leader in North 24-Parganas.
A group of Citu leaders from bus, mini-bus and auto associations in the state will meet Mitra tomorrow seeking a revision of fares and introducing more buses for the public.