Mumbaikars faced a tough time commuting on Monday morning, as BEST workers went on a strike to protest against the untimely disbursement of salaries. Pics/Tanvi Phondekar and Datta Kumbhar
BEST employees went on a strike yesterday, seeking a written assurance from the administration that they would receive their salaries by the 10th of the month. However, despite making all of Mumbai suffer, they did not achieve the goal. Services resumed yesterday evening with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray verbally assuring the striking employees that the administration will credit salaries by the 10th.
Though Thackeray had requested Kruti Samiti, an association of BEST unions, to call off the strike on Sunday, the employees refused to budge from their decision. After much convincing, the union leaders decided to settle on a verbal assurance from the Sena chief.
Thackeray called a meeting at his residence on Monday afternoon and assured the union leaders that all the BEST employees would receive their salaries by the 10th of every month.
Also read - Mumbai: 16-hour-long BEST strike called off
More than 30 lakh commuters were inconvenienced as around 3,800 BEST buses went off the roads on Monday morning. Pics/Satej Shinde and Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Thereafter, they withdrew the strike and public buses were back on the roads by evening. Further, to ensure that the workers continued to have faith in them, he promised that the budgets of BMC and BEST would be merged.
Speaking to mid-day, Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar said, "The Sena chief has promised the employees that they would get their salaries by 10th. He has also communicated the same to the civic chief and BEST general manager. Our elected representatives in the civic body and state government will soon move the proposal for merging the budgets."
Meanwhile, the BEST union leaders said that if the salaries were not credited by Thursday, they would hold a meeting to discuss their next move. "Our main concern is whether we get the salaries on time or not. The administration has promised to take care of it. If we do not receive it by the 10th, then we'll decide on our next course of action," said Shashank Rao, a union leader.
For the past five months, BEST employees have been receiving their salaries by the 22nd of every month. Though the civic body has made several plans over time to deal with the situation, nothing has come of it.
According to the agreements signed by the employees with the administration, they are supposed to receive their earnings on the second working day of every month, but it has never happened.
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