98% BEST staff vote for strike; panel calls for protest on Monday
The action committee, BEST Sanyukta Kamagar Kruti Samiti, which has been demanding a wage hike, stated that they have decided to not go on strike immediately so that passengers are not hassled. The agitation on Monday will start from 11am.Updated: Aug 25, 2019 03:58 IST
An action committee of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) labour unions on Saturday declared that they will stage a protest at Wadala depot on Monday, even as 98% of 17,925 workers voted in favour of a strike in a ballot held recently.
The action committee, BEST Sanyukta Kamagar Kruti Samiti, which has been demanding a wage hike, stated that they have decided to not go on strike immediately so that passengers are not hassled. The agitation on Monday will start from 11am. “We do not want to inconvenience passengers instantly by calling a strike. We will begin the agitation from Monday morning. After this we will take a decision on the strike,” said Shashank Rao, union leader.
BEST bus service is the second largest mode of public transport in Mumbai after the suburban railways. On Friday, the action committee had stated that depending upon the result of the strike ballot conducted on August 26, they would announce the future course of action on Saturday. Of the 17,925 BEST employees who took part in the strike ballot, 1,731 cast their votes online.
According to the action committee, their earlier wage agreement with the management expired in 2016, but a new one has not been signed till now owing to issues in the BEST management. Once signed it will be valid for five years from 2016-2021. The unions are likely to meet BEST employees, including the general manager, on August 27.
Earlier, the action committee had warned of a strike from April 7, but it was postponed after the BEST management agreed for five rounds of talks on wage agreement till August 20. If the unions go on strike, around 30 lakh commuters in Mumbai will be affected on a daily basis. In January, BEST unions had gone on a strike for nine days.
First Published: Aug 25, 2019 01:02 IST