Despite an industrial court’s order on Saturday retraining civic employees from striking, the action committee of municipal employees has called a strike to protest the delay in the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed upon by the civic body and the unions in 2010.
Starting Monday night, brace yourself to face problems with your water supply and your garbage collection, and if the unions are to be believed, even civic hospitals will be deserted.
Union leaders refused to comment on whether the court order will be followed, saying a final call will be taken on Sunday.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the strike was not justified and the demands were ‘unrealistic’ since the wages agreed upon were higher than those of their state counterparts. As per the latest agreement on August 9, 2011, civic employees of Grade D cadre — the lowest rung — are being offered salaries 40% higher than their state counterparts, while Grade C cadre employees are getting salaries 28% higher than state employees.
A senior Shiv Sena leader said: “It is a tactic to extract the most out of the ruling Sena-BJP since municipal employees are a big vote bank for every party. Union leaders are affiliated to the Congress and the NCP, thereby making their intentions clear.”
Civic officials, on condition of anonymity, said the issues could be resolved before the strike. “We are open to talks with the unions, but the demands can’t be unreasonable. Hopefully, we are closer to a breakthrough.”
Mahabal Shetty, general secretary, Municipal Mazdoor Union, said: “We don’t understand why the BMC chief Subodh Kumar has to go back on what had been agreed by his two predecessors. We want the BMC to fulfil the demands agreed upon. Else we have to go on an indefinite strike.”