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Mumbai: BEST pays half of may salary, but strike looks likely

Mumbai city news: The union said the management had until June 22 to pay the remaining 50% of the salaries, or they would strike

mumbai Updated: Jun 21, 2017 01:27 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,BEST,Strike
It has more than 40,000 employees, responsible for running 3,600 buses, besides supplying power to 10 lakh consumers.(File photo)

A day after the BEST workers’ union threatened to strike work from Friday over unpaid salaries, the management paid 50% of May’s salary to 42,000 employees on Tuesday.

But the workers were not happy.

The union said the management had until June 22 to pay the remaining salaries, or they would strike.

The strike could spell chaos on Mumbai’s roads as the BEST bus service, the city’s second largest mass transport system after the railways, caters to 30 lakh commuters every day.

Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST), facing one of its worst financial crises in years, has been unable to pay salaries to employees for May.

Shashank Rao, leader of the BEST Workers Union, said there was no change in the workers’ decision to strike work.

The BEST administration, however, claimed they have not yet got an official notice from the union about the strike, but said they will try to prevent it.

“We have not received any strike notice from the union. We learnt about it through newspapers,” said Sanjay Bhagwat, the additional general manager of BEST.

He said he has called a meeting of officials on Wednesday to take stock of the current situation. Bhagwat said 50% of the staff salary was given out on Tuesday and that BEST was trying to pay the remaining amount to all employees.

“Everyday, we take review of the amount we have in our bank accounts to pay off the salaries,” he said.

He, however, did not specify a date by which the salaries

will be given out to the employees.

BEST runs the city bus service and distributes electricity in some parts of Mumbai.

An industrial court had earlier directed BEST to pay all pending salaries of employees before June 20, 2017.

First Published: Jun 21, 2017 01:07 IST