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MSRTC employees' strike enters 20th day

Google Oneindia News

Mumbai, Nov 16: The ongoing strike by employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) on merger demand showed no signs of heading towards a resolution even though more staffers resumed duty on Monday when over 50 buses were operated, officials said.

With each passing day of the strike, which started late last month over the demand to merge MSRTC with the state government, the number of employees resuming duty is going up, the corporation officials said.

MSRTC employees strike enters 20th day

An official said 6,895 corporation employees, out of the total 92,266, reported for duty on Monday.
On Sunday, 3,987 employees had reported for work and the corporation operated around 80 buses on different routes.

"However, bus operations at all 250 depots are shut today, though many workshop employees have rejoined duty," a spokesperson of the MSRTC said.

According to the officials, among the employees who reported to work on Monday, the highest 5,187 were administrative staffers followed by 1,415 workshop employees, 197 drivers and 96 conductors.
The loss-making corporation, however, operated only 51 buses, mainly air conditioned 'Shivneri' and 'Shivshahi' buses, from various depots till 4 pm and 1,317 passengers travelled in them, they said.
Of these, the highest 10 buses were operated on the busy Dadar (Mumbai)-Pune route, the officials said.

The employees started the indefinite strike on October 28 and intensified it earlier this month.
They have refused to budge from their demand for the merger of the MSRTC with the state government. A merger will give them the status of government employees, besides better salaries.

The Maharashtra government has formed a committee to look into the demand of the employees.
The MSRTC issued a pamphlet on Friday last, urging the employees to call off the strike immediately.

Accumulated losses of the corporation have risen to Rs 12,000 crore, still it paid the salaries for the last 18 months by taking a financial assistance of Rs 3,549 crore from the state government, it said.

The pamphlet had also mentioned the fulfillment of other demands such as increase in the dearness allowance, house rent allowance and a Diwali gift for the employees.

Ordinary commuters are suffering and the MSRTC is losing Rs 15 to 20 crore every day due to the strike, it had said.

Meanwhile, BEST Jagrut Kamgar Sanghatana (BJKS), a labour union in the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), demanded the merger of the civic-run transport undertaking with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM - also called BMC).

BJKS functionary Suhas Nalawade made the demand in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday.
In the letter, Nalawade claimed it was the MCGM's responsibility to provide bus services and power supply to citizens as per section 63 of the Mumbai Municipal Act 1988.

The BEST undertaking provides bus services in Mumbai and neighbouring cities like Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mira Bhayandar. Before the pandemic, over 30 lakh passengers used to travel in BEST buses.

The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday urged the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), its employees who have been on strike since October 28, and the state government to resolve their concerns amicably in the wider interest of the public and restrained them from making statements on contentious issues.

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