The BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) worker’s union have threatened an indefinite strike from October 21 if employees do not receive their Diwali bonus. BEST buses are the city’s second largest public transport system and have cumulative losses of Rs 2,500 crore.
Union leader Shashank Rao was quoted in a leading daily as saying, “The workers had been receiving bonus for the past two years and this year, the management has refused to pay a Diwali bonus. We will protest if the money is not paid by Diwali. There will be indefinite agitation and workers will not report to work voluntarily from October 21, which also marks the festival of Bhaubeej.” The union has demanded that workers should get bonus amount similar to that paid to civic workers this Diwali.
Meanwhile, in a BEST committee meeting held recently, all members supported employees’ demand for a bonus. However, the management was reluctant to implement it owing to fund crunch. According to sources, the BEST has no money. Last time, the BEST workers had gone on strike was during Raksha Bandhan which affected the city badly. Nearly 30 lakh people travel by BEST everyday.