More than One Lakh MSRTC Workers on Strike

More than one lakh workers of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) went on an indefinite strike from Tuesday midnight, demanding wages as per the 7th pay commission. The workers have launched the strike after negotiations with the state government failed.

“Our 1.02 lakh staffers have stopped plying ST buses from midnight yesterday demanding implementation of the 7th Pay Commission and an interim hike of 25 percent till the pay panel’s recommendations are implemented,” said Sandeep Shinde, president of the Maharashtra ST Workers’ Union to PTI.
The 7th pay commission recommended a hike of 14% in salaries and 25% in interim bonus. As per the recommendations, the Union government had hiked the minimum basic pay for central government employees from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000.

Speaking of the penury faced by MSRTC workers, Hanumant Tate, state general secretary of Maharashtra ST Kamgar Sanghatana, said , “Implementing pay panel recommendations is part of the salary hike demand. The salary paid to most of the employees doesn’t even match government’s minimum wage rate. Conductors and drivers are paid between Rs 8,000-10,000 per month, which is too little to survive. Against this, private bus drivers are paid Rs 18,000.”

The state transport workers, who entered the second day of the strike, assert that they won’t give up their struggle until they get the recommended hike. 
“If our demands are met, we are ready to end our strike right now,” Shinde said.

On the other hand, the strike has affected the commute of thousands of passengers at the time of Diwali. Long-distance passengers, who plan to travel to their hometowns for the festival, will especially face a hard time. Thousands of people who travel to the interiors and to Konkan regions depend mostly on state transport buses.

Festival seasons are usually profit-yielding seasons for the MSRTC. But this season, the corporation had sustained losses of nearly ₹19 crore due to the strike, an MSRTC official said.
To help the troubled commuters, the transport department of the Maharashtra government issued a notification to allow private vehicles, including school buses and taxis, to ply the routes of the state buses.

More than 60 lakh passengers depend on MSRTC buses every day. To carry these passengers on intra-city and inter-city routes, MSRTC operates around 19,000 buses.
Apologising for the inconvenience to passengers due to the strike, Shinde appealed to the public for support. 

“We have been rendering our services to them (passengers) since long, but this time we need their support for our survival,” he said.



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