BEST stir: 350 cases filed, but no ar­rests

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY -

From P 1

We have made ef­forts to knock at all doors and pe­ti­tion ev­ery stake­holder. It is not clear whether the CM will in­ter­vene,” said a union leader.

On its part, the BEST man­age­ment has filed around 350 cases un­der MESMA (Ma­ha­rash­tra Es­sen­tial Ser­vices Main­te­nance Act) ataround half a dozen po­lice sta­tion against the strik­ing work­ers, but not ar­rest has been made yet. Sources said the man­age­ment has been gath­er­ing ev­i­dence against Rao and other union ac­tivists in a bid to get them ar­rested if the strike goes on. The union has also de­fied the in­dus­trial court order which had "re­strained them from go­ing on strike", said a se­nior of­fi­cial, adding that nearly 350 con­tempt no­tices have been is­sued so far.

A few days back, the BEST Work­ers Union met Shiv Sena pres­i­dent Ud­dhav Thack­eray and mayor Vish­wanath Ma­hadesh­war, but the meet­ing yielded no re­sult.’

Nearly 32,000 staffers from the trans­port wing of BEST are on strike since Jan­uary 8 and as many as 3,337 buses, in­clud­ing 120 dou­ble decker buses, are off roads. As for the Elec­tric­ity wing of BEST, 54% staffers (of a to­tal around 8,000 em­ploy­ees) are on strike and this could af­fect restora­tion ser­vices in case of ma­jor power cuts/out­ages in the is­land city. Ac­cord­ing to BEST muster, just four driv­ers had re­ported for duty on Sun­day and not a sin­gle bus was op­er­ated.

The de­mands in­clude merger of BEST bud­get with civic bud­get so that BMC takes full re­spon­si­bil­ity of the fi­nan­cial bur­den of trans­port un­der­tak­ing, gra­da­tion pay hike, wage set­tle­ment and is­sues per­tain­ing to re­cruit­ments and staff quar­ters.

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