A huge ruckus broke out during a committee meeting of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) on Tuesday.
According to senior committee members of the BEST undertaking, as many as 3,250 BEST staffers have received decrement in salaries (down by a grade) for being absent for longer period when the pandemic was at its peak last year.
The issue led to heated argument at the BEST meeting, where members demanded immediate withdrawal of the order for salary cuts. Also, senior members of the committee said that, most of the employees who are facing action belong to the transport wing of the undertaking and are mainly drivers and conductors.
"The cut in their salary is uncalled for, the drivers and conductors have remained in the frontline putting their lives at risk, so many of them had got infected in the line of duty as well and many of them were absent for genuine reasons, but they were charge-sheeted, this is absolutely unfair," said Sunil Ganacharya, senior committee member from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
"The management needs to take a sympathetic view on the issue and restore the salary structure to normal," he added.
He also pointed out that after the pandemic broke out many employees got stuck in their villages due to the lockdown, because of which many of them were unable to report to work.
Meanwhile, Prakash Gangadhare another senior corporator from the BJP said that many administrative officers were also absent during the pandemic outbreak, however, no action was taken against them.
Senior BEST officials from management were unavailable for comment, however, one official from traffic wing said that the action for 'absenteeism' was justified.
Committee chairman and senior Shiv Sena corporator - Pravin Shinde said that the management should revoke the order and pardon the drivers and conductors as they were on the frontline during the pandemic outbreak.