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Rao warns of another strike if terms not met

Mumbai Mazdoor Union's Sharad Rao temporarily withdraws indefinite strike, warns of another protest next Monday, if demands are not met

Even though the Municipal Mazdoor Union chief Sharad Rao withdrew the indefinite strike within 24 hours of its commencement, several civic services were left handicapped.


Services paralysed: Due to the strike yesterday, certain KEM Hospital
patients had to be moved to private facilities, and several operations
were postponed. Pic/datta Kumbhar


The strike for the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, which began on Monday night, was called off after a round of meeting with Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and CM Prithviraj Chavan. Both Rao and Kumar stuck to their guns late last evening until Rao cancelled the strike.

Nearly 80,000 civic employees, including Grade IV workers, protested against the failure to implement the commission's recommendations.

They alleged that the Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar had betrayed them by changing the terms and conditions in the agreement. This largely affected the solid waste management, leading to heaps of garbage left unattended in the city. Of the 54,000 civic staffers responsible for cleaning the city, only 12,000 were present.

The daily garbage runs into 6,500 metric tones, while only 2,000 metric tonnes were collected.

Reportedly, a few garbage dumpers were damaged by protesters in Bandra, and a police complaint has been registered against them with the Bandra police station. Operations were postponed at civic hospitals, and some patients had to be transferred to private facilities.

Kumar had clearly stated that those participating in the protest would not be given the day wages and they would be booked under the Essential Services Maintenance Act. "The strike was declared illegal and those joining the protest would be tried for contempt of court," he said, adding that according to the current agreement with six unions, the cost of implementing the SPC means a rise of three per cent - from 53 to 56 -- in the BMC's total expenditure.

Rao, in his meetings with the CM and the Dy CM demanded the implementation of the sixth pay commission according to the MoU signed on August 9. Rao wants the House Rental Allowance (HRA) to be raised to 30 per cent of the basic salary. He said, "There would be a meeting with the BMC commissioner and the CM on September 23, where the final conditions would be laid down. If our terms are not met, we will protest at Azad Maidan on September 26."

On duty
At civic establishments across the city:
u7,725 senior officials present out of 9,900
u484 nurses present out of 1,222 
u674 security personnel present out of 711

Conditions
Clauses agreed to by the
six unions (for Class IV employees) that had called off the strike before:
uHRA at 7.5 per cent of the basic salary
uTravel subsidy allowance increased from Rs 200/
Rs 800/Rs 1200 to
Rs 600/ Rs 1200 Rs 1600
uLeaves cut down from
15 to 8 days, along with working hours extended
by 45 minutes

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