Mumbai: Defying the orders of the Bombay High Court and slamming the proposed ‘economic reforms’ as an eyewash, Shashank Rao, leader of the BEST Workers’ union, said the strike would continue. The workers are ready to face the consequences but will not back off until the BEST management gives a ‘written assurance’ to fulfil their demands, he said.
In a telephonic conversation with The Free Press Journal, Rao said the ‘measures’ recommended by the mediation committee are not for the welfare of the workers. “The suggestions are not at all acceptable to us. We do not want that 10-point increment as it is just an eyewash. The recommendations are not for our welfare, instead it is our death warrant,” Rao said.
“The suggestions include the implementation of economic reforms which are not at all in favour of the poor employees. These reforms will result in massive deductions from their salaries,” Rao added. According to Rao, if the proposed economic reforms are implemented, the reworked Dearness Allowance (DA) of the employees will be nearly 40 per cent of their salaries and their medical leave and leave travel allowance (LTA) will be cancelled.
He claimed the reforms are contrary to the primary demands made by the workers. “Even the workers’ housing subsidy will be taken away. Then how are these reforms for the welfare of employees? It also proposes to accept buses and workers on hire. They want the workers to blindly sign their very own death warrants,” Rao lamented. Referring to Tuesday’s proceedings in the High Court, Rao said, “The court has given liberty to the government to act against us, if we do not resume work.
Let the government do whatever it wants to, we will not back off. We are firm in our stand. We are ready to face the consequences,” a confident Rao, said. Rao has blamed the Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for the entire mess. He alleged that Thackeray wants to sell off the BEST. “The BEST committee is headed by Shiv Sena, which is not taking any responsibility. The union led by Shiv Sena withdrew support on the second day of the strike but the workers continued to support us,” Rao pointed out.