Mumbai: Lakhs of commuters travelling during Diwali will be inconvenienced as Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) union workers have announced an indefinite bus strike from October 16 onwards. The workers have called for a ‘statewide’ strike as the State Transport (ST) body has failed to pay them their salary according to the seventh pay commission.
At least 65 lakh passengers travel daily by ST buses. The passengers travelling to their hometown during the festival will face huge inconvenience due to the bus strike. The workers said that on Tuesday a meeting would be conducted with the concerned officials from ST to discuss about their demands.
“For the past three years, we have been requesting the officials to pay us the salaries as per the seventh pay commission. But they have not met our demands as yet. Our workers get paid between Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 a month which does not suffice their basic needs,” said Sandeep Shinde, state president of the MSRTC Workers’ Union.
The workers said that they would go ahead with the strike from October 16 midnight if the transport body fails to meet their demands. “Our only demand is that our workers need to get paid in a manner similar to that of other workers in different transport divisions,” added Shinde.
The MSRTC incurs almost Rs 450 crore losses annually. At least 18,000 buses are run on a daily basis and 65 lakh passenger travel daily by these buses. The officials said that the salary demands raised by the workers does not fit into their economic budget.
“There are a total number of more than a lakh of workers in our transport division. We spend at least Rs 5,000 crore annually on payment of their salaries. Their demands of salary hike do not fit in our budget allocation. We will be meeting the workers in order to bring a solution to their demands,” said the official.