Mumbai: The State Transport workers’ strike entered its third day on Thursday after talks with the government failed. The workers’ unions have been negotiating with the administration but refused to call off their protest till they are paid better salaries.
The strike by Maharashtra’s State Transport workers affected Diwali vacation plans of thousands of people and also badly affected the earnings of the transport body resulting in loss of crores.
After 13 rounds of discussions, Transport Minister Diwakar Raote and Union leaders once again had a long meeting on Wednesday to end the stalemate. Raote called the workers’ representatives for talks on Wednesday evening. The meeting continued for six hours, but yet the talks failed.
Raote, on Thursday appealed to the ST workers to call off their strike. He said the MSRTC administration has offered a hike in salary up to 35 per cent, which was based on 2.57 valuation of 7th Pay Commission.
“According to the formula, the workers would be entitled to increase in salary from Rs 4,000 to Rs 7,000. This proposal was best among the best and the MSRTC could not afford more than this, the Union leaders have to take a call,” said Raote.
“The offer was highest in the MSRTC’s 70 years of history. If the workers are not happy with this hike then there is no other way out,” he said.
Maharashtra State ST Kamgar Sanghatana is leading the strike with the support of six other labour unions.
They want salaries revised as per recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.
Workers of MSRTC have been on strike since Monday midnight, days before Diwali. It has affected people who are travelling during the festival. Lakhs of passengers use the 17,000 buses that operate across Maharashtra every day.
The State government had allowed private vehicles to ply on the ST route. The corporation has incurred losses of nearly Rs 19 crore because of the strike.
With a fleet of more than 19,000 buses, MSRTC is India’s largest public transport undertaking. Every day, it ferries 60 lakh passengers on intra-city and inter-city routes, besides providing services in small towns.