BEST Workers Go On Indefinite Strike, 3,000 Buses Off Mumbai Roads Today

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Around 25 lakh passengers in Mumbai and regions around will be affected by the strike.

Mumbai:

Around 35,000 employees of the civic-run transport service BEST went on an indefinite strike on the midnight of Monday to press various demands, despite an industrial court restraining them from taking the step.

Around 25 lakh passengers who travel by 3000 BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) buses that ply on streets of Mumbai and the metropolitan region each day will be affected by the strike, a union official said.

Various unions of BEST workers are demanding renewal of their salary agreements expired in 2016, rise in gratuity and bonus amounts, the official said.

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They are also seeking the immediate resolution of housing issues and the merger of various undertakings of BEST, the civic transport and electricity provider public body based in Mumbai.

The unions also demanded that the budgets of BEST and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) be merged.

The official added that the employees decided to go on strike as the BEST administration failed to come up with any concrete solution to resolve their long-pending demands.

Meanwhile, sources said the Maharashtra government might slap Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on the striking employees.
The Act gives police the right to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating the provisions.

The BEST management had declared the strike illegal and issued internal circulars warning staffers of strict action if they proceeded with it.

When all talks between the parties failed, the BEST management approached the Industrial Court seeking relief against the strike.

Earlier in the day, Industrial Court Member SV Suryawanshi, after hearing brief arguments, restrained union workers from going on strike till it hears the complaint filed by BEST management.

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