BEST strike ends after Sena chief assures timely payment of salaries

BEST strike ends after Sena chief assures timely payment of salaries
The strike was called off around 4 pm after Thackeray promised to pay BEST workers’ salaries by the 10th of every month (Representational Image, Courtesy: Isaaclangslow Blog)

Mumbai commuters can expect some respite as the action committee, comprising representatives of nine worker unions, of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking called off their strike on Monday evening.

The undertaking’s worker unions, representing over 35,000 employees, had gone on strike from midnight today to press for their demands, including timely payment of salaries.

While earlier talks between the administration and BEST representatives ended in a deadlock, both parties were able to come to a consensus at the meeting held at Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s residence Matoshree today.

The strike was called off around 4 pm after Thackeray promised to pay BEST workers’ salaries by the 10th of every month.

BEST had also sought financial aid from the BMC, on which Thackeray promised to take a decision in a few months. The Sena chief is reportedly mulling over merging the budget for BEST and BMC to tide over the financial crises.

Although the strike is over, buses are likely to start plying depending on the availability of staff. However, operations are expected to return to normalcy from tomorrow morning.

Over the last few days, the BEST employees and the BMC have been at the loggerheads over several issues, including irregular payment of salary. When talks with the civic body and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis failed, the unions decided to go on strike.

The Maharashtra government warned of invoking Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA), 2011 to take action against striking employees, but it did little to deter their resolve.

An estimated 30 lakh commuters use BEST services everyday.

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