The ongoing strike by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees, who are demanding a pay hike may end soon. The Bombay High Court has ordered the Maharashtra government to come out with concrete steps by 4:30 pm today. The High Court pointed out that no concrete step was taken and said that if the state government constitutes a high power committee then it would give more time. The court said that it was not in its jurisdiction and suggested the government to make alternative arrangements for public convenience. Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray discussed the issue of MSRTC strike with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and state Transport Minister Diwakar Raote. The strike which entered its fourth day on Friday hit commuters very hard as they faced hardships in travelling to their hometowns in the festive season.
Talks which were held yesterday between Diwakar Raote, MSRTC officials and union representatives failed to arrive at a negotiated settlement to end the strike. Raote later said, “Union representatives put forth the highest-ever proposal to increase the salary. Their (pay hike) demand is so high that it is not possible for the MSRTC to accept it.”
To ease rush, the Central Railways has added some unreserved coaches in few trains. “The Central Railway has decided to attach additional unreserved coaches in Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Mangaluru Matsyagandha Express, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus – Mangaluru Jn Mangalore Express and Dadar–Sawantwadi Tutari Express to clear the extra rush of passengers due to the strike, a senior CR official said.
A senior representative of the ST Workers’ Union said, “As per the rule, we had given a notice for strike 40 days in advance. But the administration remained under the impression that we would accept their terms.” MSRTC, however, denied the charges, Milind Band, Deputy General Manager (operations) of MSRTC, said, “After their notice, we held a series of meetings with their representatives and tried to convince them how their demand was not financially feasible. But, unfortunately, they went ahead with the strike.”
In August, over 3,500 buses of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking went off the roads here after its workers’ union went on a strike to press for their demands, including timely payment of salaries.
Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has announced it will give Rs 25 crore to BEST to pay Diwali bonus to the civic transport utility’s employees. Following the announcement, BEST employees’ Unions have decided to withdraw their call for an indefinite strike which was to start from October 21.