Mumbai: Talks completely fail on day 6 of BEST strike; 32,000 employees off duty
Sources said the High Court-appointed committee met with Rao and other union leaders and took the draft of their demands. It will now be submitted before the chief minister and later presented before the High Court
As talks between Dinesh Kumar Jain, chief secretary of Maharashtra, and the BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS) president Shashank Rao failed, the threat of the strike continued on the sixth day. Almost 32,000 BEST employees did not report for duty. In addition, 4,260 employees, almost 54 per cent, from the electricity department also extended their support and remained absent on Saturday.
On Saturday morning, Rao had a marathon meeting with Jain and said that the meeting was positive, but the strike will continue in a peaceful manner. Sources said the High Court-appointed committee met with Rao and other union leaders and took the draft of their demands. It will now be submitted before the chief minister and later presented before the High Court.
Employees from the BMC and one of railways' biggest trade unions, the National Railway Mazdoor Sangh, have also expressed solidarity with the BEST strike and said they would also join the strike soon. On Saturday, not a single BEST bus operated, while Maharashtra State Road Transport operated 39 buses, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport ran 16 buses and 172 private buses operated.
Ola, Uber on strike, too?
Even as harassed Mumbaikars are coping with the BEST bus strike, a few news channels created panic by stating that Ola and Uber, cab aggregators, would also go on strike from Monday. However, Sunil Borkar, secretary, Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh, a union of app-based cab drivers led by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Mumbai president Sachin Ahir, categorically told mid-day that there was no call for a strike, but just that a meeting is scheduled with the chief minister about the issue and any further development on the issue would be announced on Monday. However, Marathi Kamgar Sena leader Mahesh Jadhav said that despite assurances by the chief minister after the strike in November, the conditions have not improved and all the driver partners are ready to protest if the issues are not resolved.
BEST employees did not report for duty
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