BEST strike called off: Union agrees to end protest after HC appoints mediator, grants pay hike

BEST strike called off: Union agrees to end protest after HC appoints mediator, grants pay hike
Bombay HC ordered the workers to call off the strike by 1:30 am today after appointing a retired justice to negotiate terms and granting the 10 point pay hike from January (Representational Image)

The Bombay High court on Wednesday ordered the BEST workers to end their ongoing strike and directed them to announce the same within an hour’s time.

Over 32,000 BEST employees have been on strike since January 8 over their various demands, including pay hike, revision of pay grade for junior level employees, and merger of loss-making BEST’s budget with that of its parent body, BMC.

The HC had on Tuesday directed the BEST workers’ union to take a final decision on the withdrawal of its ongoing strike.

The direction came after BEST told the court that it was willing to implement the redressal measure suggested by the state government’s high-powered committee on granting an interim pay hike to its employees.

Despite the assurances, BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS), a joint action committee of labour unions led by Shashank Rao, rejected the proposal yesterday evening.

The union, however, overturned its earlier objection after the court appointed a retired Justice of the High Court – Justice Srikrishna – to negotiate the terms between the union and the management.

The union’s demand for implementing the ’10-step increase’ in salary for its employees, recommended by the court-appointed committee, has also been accepted.

The hike will take effect from January 2019, instead of February and an estimated 30,000 employees will get a hike in their January salary.

Meanwhile, the mediator will have to negotiate on the merger of BEST budget with BMC, increasing the transporter’s efficiency and other demands put forth by the union.

The court set a deadline of 1:30 pm for the workers to end the strike, which the unions have agreed to comply with.

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