Lakhs of travellers will be hit all over Maharashtra
Mumbai : Lakhs of commuters travelling during Diwali have to face inconvenienced as Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) union workers have announced an indefinite bus strike from October 16 midnight. The workers have called for a ‘statewide’ strike as the Chief minister refused to agree with their demands.
At least 65 lakh passengers travel daily by ST buses. Many of them are travelling to their hometown during the festival have to face huge inconvenience due to the bus strike.
On Monday, after getting notice from the unions of ST workers, the state government had called the representatives of the union for talk with chief minister. In the meeting chief minister said that the government can not implement recommendation of 7th pay commission to the ST workers, as it is not implemented to the state government employees.
“For the past three years, we have been requesting the officials to pay us the salaries as per the seventh pay commission. But they have not met our demands as yet. Our workers get paid between Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 a month which does not suffice their basic needs,” said Hanamant Tate, General secretary ST Kamgar Sanghtana.
"From Monday mindnigt (October,16) all the buses of the state transport wil be off road and the drivers and conductors will not ply the buses after 12 in the night," said Jayprakash Chhajed fo INTUC.
“Our only demand is that our workers need to get paid in a manner similar to that of other workers in different transport divisions,” added Chhajed. “Our demands include implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission and 25 per cent interim hike till the revised salary contract is made," he added further.
The state currently operates 17,000 buses across the state and has 1.07 lakh MSRTC employees and 65 lakh passenger travel daily by these buses.
However, the ST officials said that the salary demands raised by the workers does not fit into their economic budget. “There are a total number of more than one lakh workers in transport division. The ST spend at least Rs 5,000 crore annually on payment of their salaries. Though the ST workers are demanding salary hike, that does not fit in our budget allocation,” said the official.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Diwakar Raote appealed to the ST workers that considering the Diwali rush, the employees have to call off the strike.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the salary of the workers is low and the government is positive with the demands. "The workers have to withdraw the strike. The government is going to form a committee under principal secretary Manoj Saunik, to study the issue and suggest the solution for it. The government will accept the solution suggested by the committee," Fadnavis said.