Mumbai: BEST and Western Railway employees start the week with protests

Updated: 15 September, 2020 08:10 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

While Undertaking's employees demonstrated against alleged high-handedness of senior officials, Railways staff launched a week-long agitation to object to government policies

BEST employees protest at the Wadala bus depot
BEST employees protest at the Wadala bus depot

The beginning of the week on Monday saw BEST employees protest against the alleged high-handedness of senior officials, and Railway unions launch a protest against the New Pension Scheme and changed terms of Dearness Allowance.

The BEST employees protest at Wadala sparked off after an incident between a bus driver and senior officials last week. The bus on route number 368 that travels between Sewri and Mulund, was stopped near Vikhroli by supervisors who allegedly asked the driver to take more passengers, leading to a heated argument. The bus driver recorded the entire argument on his phone, saying he was merely documenting his side of the story as evidence to avoid counter allegations.

"The incident that occurred on route 368 is just indicative. The bus was full of passengers. Despite this, it was halted at the bus stop by senior officials and the driver was allegedly asked to take in more passengers. This is not just an issue of argument, but a matter of public safety. This not just puts the employee at risk, but also the Mumbaikar who is travelling," Shashank Sharad Rao, general secretary of the BEST Workers' Union, said.

"This is the why we took a massive protest rally to the Wadala bus depot. The demand was that the disciplinary action taken against the driver be withdrawn," he added.

For Jan Jaagran

The Western Railway Employees' Union is part of the Jan Jaagran agitation launched at the national level from September 14 to 19 to register their protest against the policies of the government, including railway privatisation, the new pension scheme and dearness allowance. The Centre has decided to put on hold increment in dearness allowance (DA) for its employees, and dearness relief (DR) for pensioners due to the COVID-19 crisis, a move which the trade unions have been vocal about.

Members of the National Railway Mazdoor Union will also join the protest.

"The week-long campaign that was launched today includes protest programmes, debates and webinars across the country to highlight all these issues," said Shiv Gopal Mishra, general secretary, All India Railwaymens' Federation, from Lucknow.

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First Published: 15 September, 2020 07:43 IST

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