BEST bus strike hits office-goers, students in Mumbai
The workers are seeking merger of BEST with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC).
Transport bodyworkers are seeking a merger of BEST with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and also demanding a renewal in their pay agreement. Nearly 29,000 employees of BEST(Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) began an indefinite strike from Monday midnight to press for their demands.
Unions of workers demanded a renewal in their salary agreements that expired two years ago. They also pressed for immediate resolution of housing issues and merger of various undertakings of BEST. The workers also seek a merger of BEST with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation BMC).
As per BEST buses have gone off the road from early Tuesday morning, following an indefinite strike call was given by the workers’ union.
Of the 1,812 buses scheduled for morning service at 27 bus depots during early peak hours, not a single bus left the depot this morning, a BEST spokesperson told mid-day.
The strike had badly affected the city’s over 35 lakh commuters, including office-goers and students.
MSRTC spokesperson said they are operating additional city buses between Thane and Mantralaya, Kurla Chembur, Dadar Mantralaya and CSMT-Mantralaya.
BEST committee chairman Ashish Chemburkar told mid-day he has scheduled a meeting with BMC Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to discuss the trade union's various demands and resolve the issue.
According to ANI, members of Central Trade Unions are holding protests & block commuters in Bhubaneswar demanding minimum wages and social security schemes among others.
Amidst all this, the common man was affected the most. While some are angry at BEST, some went ahead to take digs at the situation.
Done with all this tamasha created by useless unions and parties just to cause inconvenience to public. JEE exam is being held today. How the students are suppossd to reach on time when there is no public transport available. This is antinationalism itself! #BharatBandh #JEE— ash01 (@ash0127740819) January 8, 2019
At first sight you may wonder why best employees would strike?!!! https://t.co/HOaSXLlGW2— ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ (@U_pasana) January 8, 2019
#BESTStrike get ready for the season of https://t.co/s2ZTkchUqt election to state and union nears,we will have taxis,autos, public hospitals, muncipalities, airport employees,gas distributors, medical shops all wangling for concessions.— Ramesh.V (@whitherworld) January 8, 2019
People seems so Happy today on road except those who commute through BEST Bus.#BESTStrike— N0mAd o_O (@Futhechi_saala) January 8, 2019
Those who have travel only in their private cars will never understand the impact of #BESTStrike on daily commuters who use public transport.
— Preserve Nature you fool.... (@pkakkad) January 8, 2019The BEST has a fleet of over 3,200-red-colour buses which criss-cross the metropolis and also operate services in the neighbouring Thane district and Navi Mumbai. It is the second-biggest mode of transport in Mumbai after local trains, which ferry over 80-lakh passengers every day.
With its employees having gone on strike, the cash-strapped BEST is likely to face a loss of Rs 3 crore per day, a source said.
Shashank Rao, leader of the BEST Workers' Union, which has called the strike, alleged that the transport body's administration showed a lackadaisical approach in resolving the stalemate and that the employees had no option but to go on strike.
Yesterday, an industrial court had declared the strike as illegal and restrained the labour unions and BEST staffers from going ahead with their protest. But, Rao said they had not received the copy of the court order till they went on strike.
West Bengal: Police in Kolkata detain CPM workers protesting in support of 48-hour nationwide strike called by Central Trade Unions. Their demands include minimum wages and social security schemes among others. pic.twitter.com/Bub5airQ1Y— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
#Karnataka: 48-hour nationwide strike called by Central Trade Unions demanding minimum wages, social security schemes & against privatisation of public and government sector; Visuals from Hubli pic.twitter.com/Gr6so1MwTJ— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
Odisha: Members of Central Trade Unions hold protests & block commuters in Bhubaneswar demanding minimum wages and social security schemes among others. Central Trade Unions have called a 48-hour nationwide strike over several demands. pic.twitter.com/5LgEWntTEQ— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
Meanwhile, some commuters opposed the strike, saying it was always the passengers who bore the brunt of the feud between the BEST administration and its employees. "Why torture innocent passengers? What wrong have we done to BEST employees and their management?" asked Anita Nayak, a Ghatkopar resident who commutes by bus every day to go for work in suburban Mulund.
The Amchi Mumbai-Amchi Best (AMAB), an independent forum of public transport enthusiasts, took a neutral stand and said the matter should be resolved as soon as possible. "No doubt commuters are going to face hardships, but it is also true that the BEST workers have also been not paid enough. No harm if BEST is merged with the BMC," a member of the forum said.
BEST management has issued internal circulars, warning employees of stringent action if they participated in the strike. It has also threatened to invoke the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) against them.
Bharat Bandh Live Updates: BEST, Trade Union Strikes Hit Common Man Hard
(with inputs from agencies)
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