Talks fail, BEST buses to go off Mumbai roads from Monday midnight
Mumbai transport body workers to go on indefinite strike after talks between administration and union fail
The BEST trade unions have decided to go ahead on an indefinite strike as the talks between the union and the administration failed even as the BEST managed to get a restraining order from the industrial court against the employees from going on a strike from midnight till it hears the complaint filed by BEST management.
BEST Workers Union leader Shashank Sharad Rao told Mid-Day that the General Manager of the undertaking called them for talks and went away for another meeting. "The strike is on. They just do not want to resolve the issue. The BEST administration is run by the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra has a transport minister from the Shiv Sena and the BMC is managed by the Shiv Sena. Despite all this, they are powerless," Rao said. We have decided to go ahead with the indefinite strike over the several pending demands.
The key demand of the workers is the merger of the BEST budget with the main BMC budget, which could improve the supply of funds for the undertaking. Other demands include completion of wage agreement.
"It was a big and difficult decision. We took a vote of all employees from numerous depots whether to go on a strike or not," he said. As per indications over 90 pc BEST employees are likely to take part in the strike which would send bus services to toss, with losses running into crores of rupees.
The BEST management had also earlier declared the strike "illegal" and issued circulars warning staffers of strict action against all participants threatening to invoke the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA).
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