The Bombay High Court has criticised the workers of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport for continuing their bus strike that entered its seventh day on Monday, News18 reported. The employees have been demanding a merging of the company’s budget with that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, among other other demands.
The BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti, a joint committee of many labour unions, have also demanded resuming appointments, more wages and resolving the concern of employee housing.
The Bombay High Court said the union was violating its orders and not negotiating appropriately, adding that the strike was inconveniencing the public, ANI reported. The BEST Union told the court that it was forced to remain on strike because the administration was refusing to comply with their demands, the news agency reported.
“We have created a platform for all the parties to sit, discuss, and find a solution but you have failed to do so,” the court told the Union. “You are not considering the plight of commuters.”
The court ordered the advocate general to be present at 3 pm submit the Maharashtra government’s stance on the matter.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reportedly discussed ways to address the situation with his government ally and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, PTI reported. The telephone conversation followed a failed meeting between the union leaders and Chief Secretary DK Jain.
The Shiv Sena on Sunday promised to merge the budget. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had said that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which his party controls, is willing to consider their demands. The BEST chairperson is also a Shiv Sena corporator. “The financial condition of the BEST has deteriorated,” Thackeray had said. “A solution can be found only through the talks.”
No negotiations between the BEST union or the civic body have taken place so far, Hindustan Times reported.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of holding the public to ransom for their political gains, News18 reported.
The Union had said it would take a call on continuing its strike after it studies a panel report on the matter to the Bombay high court on Monday. A three-member panel led by chief secretary DK Jain held two separate meetings with union leaders and the BEST and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation administration on Saturday. “We have not received any communication from the administration after the meeting,” Shashank Rao, president, BEST workers’ union, had told Hindustan Times.
More than 32,000 BEST employees are participating in the strike that has kept 3,200-odd buses off the roads.