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2-min read

BEST Assures Hike from February 2019 as Interim Measure; Mumbaikars Continue to Suffer on Day 8 of Strike

After the offer was put forward, the court asked the protesting workers to take a decision on withdrawal of strike by Tuesday evening and inform the court on Wednesday morning.

Radhika Ramaswamy | CNN-News18

Updated:January 15, 2019, 6:36 PM IST
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BEST Assures Hike from February 2019 as Interim Measure; Mumbaikars Continue to Suffer on Day 8 of Strike
Mumbai: A view of Dharavi depot after over 33,000 employees of Mumbai's civic transport undertaking BEST went on an indefinite strike since midnight over their demands, including higher wages, in Mumbai, Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019. (Image: PTI)
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Mumbai: As buses remained off Mumbai roads, BEST has assured a ten-step increment to employees from February 2019 before the Bombay High Court. The counsel representing BEST informed the court that the hike will be given if the workers call off the strike immediately.

“BEST is willing to give 10-point pay upgrade from February 2019, without arrears, if the union calls back the strike. Arrears will be discussed separately. Other demands will also be negotiated and considered,” the counsel told the court.

After the offer was put forward, the court asked the protesting workers to take a decision on withdrawal of strike by Tuesday evening and inform the court on Wednesday morning.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Naresh Patil was hearing a PIL filed to end the strike. A report on meetings and recommendations was filed by the State-appointed high power committee before the court on Tuesday. Several rounds of meetings took place today between the committee and the striking workers after the court directions.

The BEST accused the workers of holding the city ransom and causing inconvenience to the people, despite the civic bus undertaking doing the necessary.

“Workers are aware of the resources and financial condition of BEST. The undertaking is running in loss. We have been taking several crores of loans from banks and the loss each year is pegged at Rs 1,000 crore. Under these circumstances, there are many limitations.”

The counsel for workers union reiterated that the BEST should have proactively merged its budget with that of BMC to help get through losses.

“Problem cannot be solved if merger does not take place. They give all sorts of concessions but don’t have money to pay their employees. They are doing nothing to get out of the rut of losses. They are expecting employees to sit quietly and suffer,” the counsel said.

The court, after hearing both the parties said that a consensus should be reached through discussion. The court will pass an order on Wednesday or continue hearing the matter after hearing union’s decision on strike.

“We have given a platform to negotiate. You can continue discussions. Now that BEST has come forward with an interim offer of increment and has assured all the other demands will considered, you can decide on withdrawing strike,” Patil said.

The union which has called for strike last Tuesday has been demanding revision in employees’ wages, grades and also merger of BEST budget with the BMC budget. Currently 32,000 employees are on strike and 3,200 BEST buses are off roads in the city.

| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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