Meru union goes on indefinite strike

Drivers demand the reinstatement of colleagues who were suspended for damaging 58 cabs during the previous strike from October 3 to 12

Just when you thought a professional cab service would bring much-needed respite to Mumbaikars, the union of Meru cab drivers, one of the largest private operators, went on an indefinite strike yesterday.

Off the road: Only 300 of the 2,000-odd fleet of Meru cabs were seen
on the streets yesterday. pic for representation

Of the 2,000-odd Meru cabs, only 300 were seen plying on the road. The decision to strike was taken after reports emerged that three cabs at Dahisar, Kandivli and Powai were damaged yesterday. The company alleges that  a faction of its drivers were behind the vandalism. Following that, a group of drivers representing the union Swabhimaan Sanghatana met Meru officials at 11.30 am yesterday, asking them to reinstate all the drivers who had been suspended for indiscipline and violence in the past few days. However the authorities refused to budge from their decision as they believe the suspended drivers were responsible for a loss of over Rs 3 crore that the firm suffered.

The big fight
In the first week of October, there was an altercation between drivers of two unions, which resulted in the damage of a lot of vehicles. The management, after conducting an investigation, suspended some drivers.

This is the second instance in a month that Meru drivers are going on a strike. "We have met most of their demands. But we will not reinstate the suspended drivers. The union has told us that they will continue the strike," said Chief Executive Officer of Meru, Rajesh Puri.

The company informed that drivers damaged 58 vehicles during their earlier strike from October 3 to 12. They allegedly threatened other drivers and employees of the firm and caused inconvenience to passengers. The union, however, alleges that Meru is uninterested in the welfare of drivers.

"The Meru authorities are adamant and they should think about helping the drivers. They are alleging that the vehicles were damaged by our union," said Nitesh Rane, leader of Swabhimaan Sanghatana.

The private cab company is now in the process of filing a complaint with the Bangur Nagar police station against some members of the union. Meanwhile, the management has spoken to drivers in batches of 200, asking them to list out their grievances.

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