Mumbai: Salaries of BEST employees were credited to their accounts on Wednesday night with Rs 3,400 hike for employees hired after 2007. Despite this, the mood among staffers was one of dejection, as their pay was deducted for the duration of their strike in January.
They are worried about monthly expenses and paying Equated Monthly Instalments (EMIs).Rs 18,000 has been deducted from the pay check of Grade A employees, while around Rs 9,000 to Rs 11,000 from Grade B employees and Rs 6,000 from Grade C employees.
However, Grade C employees recruited after 2007 have got a hike of Rs 3,400. The BEST employees were on strike for nine days, starting January 8, demanding a hike in pay and for merger of the BEST budget with that of the BMC.“On Day 2 of the strike, we were slapped with eviction notices. Now, we have lost nine days of pay. The BEST has not paid gratuity since October 2016.
How much more will the administration trouble us?” questioned the family member of a BEST employee. “More than half our salaries go towards paying EMIs. With a deduction of Rs 11,000 from my salary, how will I pay the EMI this month?” questioned an employee, who is on BEST’s Grade B pay scale. “Forget EMIs, even monthly expenses will not be addressed by this month’s salary. Moreover, we have not got any hike,” said the employee. “We had asked the administration to consider these nine days as casual leave.
Most of the employees had also filed for leave, after resuming work. The administration has failed to take cognisance of our request,” said Shashank Rao, leader of the BEST Workers’ Union. “The industrial court had held this strike illegal and the Bombay High Court-appointed mediator has not come to any conclusion. Therefore, we had to deduct the salaries,” said BEST additional general manager, RJ Singh. However, Rao claimed this was not so.
“The matter is sub judice and the strike cannot be called illegal. These are excuses of the administration to teach employees a lesson,” said Rao. Retired Justice Ferdino Rebello is the mediator appointed by the court to resolve the issue between the undertaking and the BEST unions.
“The undertaking should have consulted Justice Rebello before deducting the salaries. This highlights the insensitivity on the part of the administration, which is governed by Shiv Sena,” said Congress corporator and leader of opposition Ravi Raja