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Maha govt announces highest-ever salary hike for MSRTC employees as strike continues

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Mumbai, Nov 24: In a bid to end the near-month-long strike of MSRTC employees, Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab on Wednesday announced a salary hike. Also, salaries would be paid before the 10th day of every month, he assured.

Maha govt announces highest-ever salary hike for MSRTC employees as strike continues

The average Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 hike in basic salaries would be the "highest in the history" of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, the state-run bus service, he said, appealing employees to call off the agitation. Parab made the announcement on Wednesday evening after a prolonged meeting with a delegation of MSRTC employees here. The hike will put additional monthly burden of Rs 60 crore and annual burden Rs 750 crore on the state government, he said.

BJP leaders Sadabhau Khot and Gopichand Padalkar, who have been leading the agitation and who took part in the talks with Parab, said they will announce their stand on the strike on Thursday. The employees' main demand is merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government. The strike started on October 28 and intensified from November 9 when all depots of MSRTC shut down.

Parab also had a discussion with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at HN Reliance hospital where the chief minister is recovering after a medical procedure, and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar who also holds finance portfolio, sources said. Speaking to reporters later, Parab claimed that dearness allowance and house rent allowance of MSRTC employees were already on par with those of state employees. Now the government has decided to hike the basic salary of the employees who are in service for one to ten years by Rs 5,000, he said. The basic salary in this category will go up to Rs 17,395 from Rs 12,080 per month, he added.

The employees in this bracket were getting very low salary so their pay was increased nearly 41 per cent, the minister said. "As per my information it's the highest-ever hike in the MSRTC history," he added. The salary of those who are in service for 10 to 20 years was increased by Rs 4,000 so their basic salary will increase to Rs 23,040 from Rs 16,000. The basic salary was hiked by Rs 2,500 for employees who have completed service of 20 years and more, Parab added.

The state government had given Rs 2,700 crore to the MSRTC for paying salaries as the corporation was making losses due to COVID-19 pandemic, he said. The government has now also made a commitment to pay salaries before the tenth day of every month against the backdrop of suicides of some employees due to delayed salaries, he said. Suspension of employees would be revoked if they rejoin duty by Friday, the minister assured. The daily wage workers whose services were terminated too will get their jobs back if they rejoin, he said. Sources said despite the salary hike, many employees are still not ready to back down on the demand of merger. PTI

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