Protesting MSF staff. Pic /Rajesh GuptaProtesting MSF staff. Pic /Rajesh Gupta

The Maharashtra Security Force (MSF), which provides security to Mu­mbai Metro and key civic hospitals, went on a flash strike this morning, taking authorities by surprise. According to a source, the staff did not report for duty, and instead led a protest at Ghatkopar Metro station.

The MSF staff has been demanding the same rights and facilities as other state agencies. Previously, they had requested that the state give them permanent jobs, instead of hiring them on a contract basis. A source said that over 500 MSF employees were also removed from their jobs recently, which could have triggered the strike.

Speaking to mid-day, Vaibhav Devle, a protesting guard, said, "We want facilities like what the police and other agencies are getting from the state."

Cops and private guards deployed at Ghatkopar metro station. Pic/ Datta KumbharCops and private guards deployed at Ghatkopar metro station. Pic/ Datta Kumbhar

Transport authorities made alternative security arrangements after MSF staff went on strike this morning. "Keeping in mind the security of commuters, Mumbai Metro One made other arrangements. We also reached out to the Mumbai Police for assistance," said a spokesperson for Mumbai Metro One.

MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kaw­athkar said that a private agency has been hired to provide security for monorail services.