BEST management, union lock horns, union appeals to its 40,000 workers to stay at home today
BEST management, union lock horns, union appeals to its 40,000 workers to stay at home today

Mumbai: While the maximum city is hell-bent on battling the global Coronavirus pandemic, workers union of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has yet again locked its horns with the management of the transport undertaking.

The BEST workers union has appealed to all the 40,000 workers of the undertaking to stay at home on Monday following complete lockdown as the administration has not given in to the demands of the union.

Earlier, the BEST union has demanded medical insurance cover worth Rs 1 crore for the employees and their families who are presently engaged in providing essential service amid the corona outbreak. Alongside this, the union has also demanded special individual PPE kits and protective gears for the staffers who are engaged in duty.

Meanwhile, the BEST management has issued a circular stating, the transport undertaking will function as per regular schedule on Monday. However, it has also set out some guidelines to ensure there is timely turnout of buses and no hindrance to services.

"No leave should be given to the traffic operational staffers and compulsory rest given to them should also be withdrawn," stated the circular. It also stated that all the conventional and wet-lease buses will be operational.

"Monday will be a normal working day for the BEST and the management has already provided adequate protective gears and sanitisers to all the employees," said Manoj Varade, BEST spokesperson. "All the buses are regularly disinfected every time they reach the depot and there is no point saying that we are risking the lives of our employees and not paying attention to them," added Varade.

On Sunday evening, BEST management released another official press note signed by General Manager Surendra Kumar Bagde confirming Monday onwards buses will ply normally for essential service providers. "Buses will ply normally as per routine on Sunday. There are rumours being spread about the discontinuation of service, however, these are not true," read the circular.

"The BEST management has not reached out to the union bodies and has not held a dialogue with us yet. We have appealed our employees to stay at home Monday onwards to ensure there is a complete lockdown," said JM Kahar, General Secretary BEST Kamgar Sangathan.

Meanwhile, two more BEST employees succumbed to COVID-19 on Saturday night and Sunday morning taking the total number of death toll to 8. Five new cases were reported on Sunday, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases at the transport undertaking now stands at 120.

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