MUMBAI: Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees went on a partial strike on Friday to demand higher wages. Over 80 per cent of the State Transport (ST) buses stayed off the road on Friday because of this strike and passengers had to face a lot of inconvenience.
According to a State Transport official, it was a sudden strike and no union had given any prior notice about the strike which paralysed the services. The spokesperson of MSRTC said that the service will be restored by Saturday. The MSRTC had announced the 18 per cent fare hike citing increasing fuel prices and the recently increased wages of the employees.
In Mumbai at Parel and Mumbai Central depots, the drivers and conductors did not report for duty on Friday morning. The passengers waiting for buses were later on informed that due to the strike, the buses would not ply on their scheduled routes.
After the announcement of a strike at the depot, the passengers started approaching private bus operators who charged higher fares. Very few buses left from Mumbai Central, Kurla and Borivali depots. Of the 250-odd depots, at least 202 depots are functioning across the State. However, Parel depot in Mumbai was completely shut.
At Parel depot, one driver was injured after other employees on strike attacked him when he was trying to start a bus.
A spokesperson of MSRTC said that 60 buses are operating and there is no major disruption of bus service across the state.
Diwakar Raote, Transport Minister, said that it was a sudden strike. “There was no intimation about the strike from the unions. The administration will take action on them as per the service rules. If the unions don’t not agree with the salary hike, then they have to inform the administration,” said Raote.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra State Transport Kamgar Sanghtana issued a letter saying that the MSRTC has to consider the feelings of employees.
Hanumant Tate, Secretary of the union, said that the employees are not happy with the increment. “The increment is not acceptable to the employees as there are other conditions. If the employees don’t want the increment, they can reject it and resign and join the service as a contract worker. There are other conditions which are not acceptable to the employees,” he said.