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ST employees to proceed on strike

Thursday, September 14, 2017
By Raju Vernekar

Over 1.25 lakh employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) (ST) are planning to proceed on an indefinite strike, before commencement of the Diwali season to demand implementation of the recommendations of the seventh pay commission.

The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), led Maharashtra ST Workers’ Congress, served a strike notice to the ST administration on Wednesday, INTUC spokesman Ratnapal Jadhav told The Afternoon D&C, adding that the union is firm on proceeding with the strike since ST employees are left high and dry despite their dedicated service. All the neighbouring states including Andhra Pradesh, Karnatak and Gujarat have set up pay commissions for their ST employees. Whereas Maharashtra is the only state which has not bothered to set up any pay commission for ST employees all these years.

“The ST drivers are working on meagre salary of Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 per month. Whereas pay scales in other industries are much more. The salaries of ST employees were being decided as per 4 year agreement earlier. As a result they were not covered by any pay commission. But now it is time to ensure that they are covered by the 7th pay commission recommendations, because their salary is less than that is paid under the minimum wages Act,” he said.

While the ST administration is not bothered about the woes of its employees, it is tacitly encouraging privatisation. For example, all the luxury buses run for Konkan, as well as Pune-Latur come under the 'Shiv Shahi' project which has been awarded to an entrepreneur from Aurangabad. The buses have a total of 45 push-back seats and the entire bus is air-conditioned. “Instead of hiring the buses from a private party, the ST administration could have purchased these buses,” Jadhav stated.

The MSTWC is affiliated to the INTUC and is a registered union, while the ST Kamgar Sanghatna is the recognised union as per court order. In addition, there is a BJP controlled Maharashtra Motor Kamgar Federation. Earlier, MSTWC had demanded a 25 percent hike in salary pending implementation of the 7th pay commission. But the demand remained unfulfilled.

There are 249 depots in Maharashtra  with over 40,000 conductors and drivers along with mechanics and technicians, the strength of the technical staff goes up to 70,000. ST transports over 60 lakh passengers daily.

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