MSRTC buses go on flash strike, Pune passengers suffer
Maharashtra state road transport corporation (MSRTC) unions, who are disappointed by the unilateral implementation of wage revision, from midnight Friday left thousands of passengers stranded at railway stations, bus depots and bus stops.pune Updated: Jun 08, 2018 23:36 IST
A surprise indefinite strike called by the Maharashtra state road transport corporation (MSRTC) unions, who are disappointed by the unilateral implementation of wage revision, from midnight Friday left thousands of passengers stranded at railway stations, bus depots and bus stops.
While 50 per cent buses were seen operating from Pune in the morning, around 80 per cent buses remained off the streets by afternoon. Passengers were forced to seek alternative means to travel despite carrying confirmed tickets of MSRTC buses.
A passenger, Anil Ashtekar, said, “I have a confirmed reservation for travelling to Nashik. I had no idea that buses would be on strike today. There is no clarity on whether my ticket will be refunded. I am waiting at the Shivajinagar bus depot but no one is telling passengers what they must do, especially those who have confirmed tickets.”
Another passenger, Vaishali More, said, “I had planned to travel to Aurangabad by Shivneri bus. Since, I will not get a ticket because of the huge rush today, I have cancelled my plans.”
A statement released by MSRTC said, “On June 8, due to the strike MSRTC lost a revenue of ₹15 crores. The effect of the strike was felt mostly in western Maharashtra, including Pune, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli and Solapur. Compared to this, 60 per cent buses were operating in Marathwada and Vidarbha routes. Till 4 pm on Friday, out of the expected 35,249 bus trips, 10,397 were operating as usual.
MSRTC employees are protesting against the corporation’s unilateral implementation of wage revision, which came into effect on June 1. The corporation has approved a wage revision worth ₹4,500 crore. However, MSRTC labour unions, including the recognised Maharashtra state ST Kamagar Sanghatana, have opposed the revision, claiming that employees are not getting a sufficient hike.
Earlier last year too, MSRTC employees had gone on a flash strike during Diwali. The stir lasted four days, causing immense problems for lakhs of commuters who wanted to travel to their hometowns for the festival.
Diwakar Raote, state transport minister, said, “We have not received any letter regarding the strike. Hence, appropriate action would be taken against the protestors.”
Maharashtra state ST Kamagar Sanghatana is the largest public transport body in the country, with around 18,000 buses and 1.02 lakh employees. Every day, its buses ferry more than 60 lakh passengers on intra-city and inter-city routes.
Main demands of MSRTC employees
-- Implementation of 7th pay commission recommendations
-- To hike salaries with respect to the position of employees
-- Till the salary structure of workers and employees is not revised, they must get 25 per cent hike
-- Employees have also expressed disappointment that in other states the drivers and conductors get a grade pay of around ₹2,000 which is not given by MSRTC.
Present salary range of MSRTC employees
Driver- ₹4700 to ₹15,367
Conductor- ₹4350 to ₹14,225
Pune: The strike has hit the in-demand Mumbai-Pune service, as well as other inter-city routes across the state. “Our bus operations in Mumbai, Konkan and western Maharashtra are affected badly,” said an MSRTC official on Friday, requesting anonymity. On Friday, when team Hindustan Times visited the Swargate bus depot, MSRTC Shivneri buses were seen plying to Mumbai but the in-demand Mumbai-Pune service was hit. Bus operations in Mumbai, Konkan and western Maharashtra too were badly affected.