Now, taxi and rickshaw union leaders will face jail for strikes | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Now, taxi and rickshaw union leaders will face jail for strikes

Now, union leaders leading bus, taxi or even rickshaw strikes can be jailed for bringing the city to halt.

mumbai Updated: Aug 04, 2012 02:09 IST
HT Correspondent

Now, union leaders leading bus, taxi or even rickshaw strikes can be jailed for bringing the city to halt.

Even political leaders found financing or supporting such protests may face similar action.

The President has cleared the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) 2011. The Act had been in force till May 2010, and has now been renewed, with more stringent provisions. It will penalise those instigating, funding or participating in strikes that directly hamper public life. “The new act has got a nod and will be effective from now on,” said PS Meena, principal secretary, general administration department (GAD).

The new provisions cover ‘transport services that carriage passengers or goods, by land or water’. All rules and permissions, licences for transport modes such as taxis and rickshaws fall under the state government’s ambit.

Apart from services related to transport, gas supply and milk, maintenance of public health and sanitation including hospitals and dispensaries are considered ‘essential’ and employees working in this sector cannot go on strike or create lockouts. The new bill calls for a six-month jail term and Rs2,000 fine for employees, and Rs2,000 as fine and a one-year jail term for those found instigating such strikes, such as union leaders.

The new provisions, which the Opposition protested against, say that if the government, at any point, feels that a certain service should be included in the Act, it wil have to issue a notification that will be tabled in the legislature. If the new service is then covered by the Act, such inclusion will be active for six months.

Union leaders have expressed their vehement opposition to the amendment. “We have already registered our protest to this anti-democratic act and will continue in future also,” said Shrirang Barage, vice-president of the Maharashtra Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC).

Strikes And Agitations

July 20, 2012: Nearly 200 motormen of Mumbai's Western Railway went on a flash strike, demanding better security and a regular weekly off, apart from a pay structure on par with the Sixth Pay Commission.

The strike was called off after four hours, causing major inconvenience to lakhs of commuters.

July 7, 2012: 200 nurses of the medical unit of Mazagaon's Prince Aly Khan Hospital went on strike demanding better pay. While the hospital management managed to convince the agitating nurses to resume work by the evening, it was a day of great inconvenience for patients.

March 9, 2012: Around 50,000 school bus owners in Mumbai went on an indefinite strike. The bus owners' association claimed they were striking against the government's laid back attitude towards amending the school bus safety policy.