BEST contract workers go on flash strike at Santacruz depot
Mumbai: More than 300 employees working with a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST)-appointed contractor went on a flash strike on Saturday morning over non-payment of Diwali bonuses among other issues
Mumbai: More than 300 employees working with a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST)-appointed contractor went on a flash strike on Saturday morning over non-payment of Diwali bonuses among other issues.
They were back to work in about six hours after getting assurances of quick resolution of the issue by their employer, without any major hassle faced by commuters.
The striking employees were those employed by a contractor and were unhappy about some persistent issues, including being paid a much lesser salary than BEST employees. The non-payment of Diwali bonuses further upset them, and they decided not to work soon after the start of their shifts at 5am. Many of them assembled at the Santacruz bus depot to register their protest.
“As soon as we learned about the situation, we deployed some of our drivers to drive the vehicles owned by the contractor on the routes that the striking drivers would have taken. We also ran a few extra buses on those routes to ensure that commuters would not be affected by this at all,” said BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade. He added that it being the fourth Saturday of the month and the holiday season, the number of commuters was already lesser than usual.
BEST workers’ union leader Shashank Rao said that until a proper solution was devised to the long-pending issues of the contractual workers, such instances can happen again anytime. “There is a definite and huge disparity between the salaries of the BEST employees and the contract workers. They have brought several issues about their work hours and conditions up repeatedly,” he said.
Varade said that while BEST is not directly in communication with contract workers, they have conveyed to the contractors to resolve the issues soon. “We are not responsible for the issues being faced by these workers as contractors have the independence to decide the terms and conditions of the employment, including the salaries. However, we are in touch with the contractors and have conveyed to them that they must resolve whatever problems are being faced by the workers as soon as possible,” he said.