Transport Minister Anil Parab on Thursday gave a fresh ultimatum to the striking employees of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to report to work by April 22 or face stern action. He, however, made it clear that the management will not take any action against the striking employees till April 22 as directed by the Bombay High Court. The MSRTC employees have been on strike since October last year and despite repeated pleas, by the state government and the high court’s strong observations, they are stuck to their stand.
"As for the employees, who did not return to work by April 22, we assume that these employees do not need work and therefore the management will take action including suspension and termination against them,’’ said Parab. His statement came a day after the state government in the high court has submitted that the MSRTC’s merger with the state government will not happen as recommended by a three-member committee headed by the former chief secretary. The striking employees are bent on the merger.
"The three-member committee submitted its report to the court after the approval of the state government by the cabinet and rejected the demand for merger of the employees,’’ said Parab.
Parab admitted that despite repeated appeals by the state government and the MSRTC management many workers did not return to work. "The employees have every right to press their demands but they should not continue the strike by harming the commuters’ interests and MSRTC’s functioning across the state. The management has made it clear that it will not proceed with the disciplinary action against the employees who have returned to the work,’’ he said.
Parab claimed that the MSRTC’s financial condition has been extremely fragile because of the impact of the coronavirus induced lockdown and the ongoing strike. ‘’Both employees and MSRTC have suffered huge losses during this period. I once again urge the employees to return to work as directed by the High Court by April 22 and restore the MSRTC’s operations across the state,’’ he noted.