Mumbai: 3K BEST buses may go off roads

Over 24,000 drivers and conductors have threatened to go on strike on Friday if their total salaries are not paid. Representation pic
Over 24,000 drivers and conductors have threatened to go on strike on Friday if their total salaries are not paid. Representation pic

The issue of non-payment of salaries to BEST's 44,000-strong staff has taken an ugly turn with bus employees threatening to go on strike on Friday. The strike call came after BEST officials said they would only pay half the total salary to employees.

Unions have demanded that the BEST pay the balance salary by June 22. Else, buses would go off the roads on Friday. "BEST employees are being treated inferiorly, while the general manager and other top bosses take home hefty salaries," said Shashank Rao, president of BEST Workers Union.

BEST Chairman Anil Kokil will have a meeting with the administration and the unions later today.

There are over 3,800 buses in the city being run by 24,000 drivers and conductors. If the employees go on strike, over 31 lakh plus passengers will be affected.

Earlier this February, for the first time, BEST had failed to pay salaries to their employees on time. Since then, there have been delays. Sources said the authorities had decided to pay salaries on the 20th of every month. But, employees were told that they wouldn't receive their entire salaries this month.

H Gophane, spokesperson, BEST Undertaking, said, "We are going to disburse R90 crore to pay the employees today. No decision on the remaining amount has been taken yet."

Yesterday, BEST committee members met authorities from the BMC, the parent organisation, to seek financial aid.

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