An 18-day-long strike, Haryana Roadways employees on Friday assured the Punjab and Haryana High Court to call off their strike and resume work by 10 am on Saturday.
The employees were on strike since October 16 against the state government’s decision to hire 720 buses from private owners. The employees had called the move an attempt to privatise transport services, an allegation strongly denied by the Manohar Lal Khattar-led state government.
The Haryana Roadways, with a fleet of 4,000 buses, employs around 19,000 people and caters to over 12 lakh passengers daily.
Hearing a public interest litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli, directed the state government not to impose any coercive action, including arrest of any of the office-bearers of the employees unions, till the next date of the hearing the matter will be heard next on November 14.
“On our asking, they (office-bearers) appeared before us, and on our persuasion they have agreed to withdraw the strike and assured the court that from tomorrow (Saturday) morning 10 am the vehicles would start plying,” the bench said.
“The orders passed by the state authorities in respect of suspension, disciplinary proceedings and dismissal of employees on probation, shall remain suspended till further orders of this court and all the employees shall be permitted by the state authorities to join and attend to their respective duties immediately. Any proceedings or action pending against any of the employees under Haryana Essential Service Maintenance Act, 1974 (ESMA), shall remain in abeyance till further orders of this court,” the high court order said.
“The directions issued herein above shall apply to the employees of other departments as well who had proceeded on strike in solidarity with the call given by the employees of the Haryana State Transport Department,” it said.
The high court also made it clear that the directions have been issued by it in view of the statement made by office-bearers of the employees union to call off the strike and resume their duties on Saturday.
“In case the strike is not called off by 10 am, the order shall lose its efficacy and shall be ineffective, the high court said.
The division bench, in its order, said that the Advocate General, appearing for the state of Haryana, has assured that all “the parties shall sit together and negotiate to come to an amicable settlement” in the matter after the strike is called off.>