Mumbai: BEST Bus Wet Lease Drivers Protest Outside Comm'r Office In Bandra, Demands Equal Pay & Better Working Conditions

Mumbai: BEST Bus Wet Lease Drivers Protest Outside Comm'r Office In Bandra, Demands Equal Pay & Better Working Conditions

They are also demanding special facilities for women workers, including enclosed changing areas, separate washrooms, and the immediate establishment of a committee against sexual harassment at workplace.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 09:06 PM IST
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Representational Image | (Photo by Sujit Jaiswal / AFP)

Hundreds of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) wet lease bus drivers gathered outside the labour commissioner’s office in Bandra on Friday. The protest was organised by the Sangharsh Kamgar Karmachari Union to advocate the ‘same work, same pay’ principle, highlighting the stark wage disparity between contractual and permanent drivers within the BEST.

Meanwhile, as per the BEST, services were normal on Friday and that drivers participated in the protest after their daily shifts.

‘Same work, same pay’

The average monthly earnings for a contractual driver are Rs18,000, while the BEST-employed counterpart receives an average of Rs34,000. This glaring wage gap has long been a cause of discontent among the wet lease bus drivers, leading to their collective demand for equal pay and improved working conditions. According to sources, currently over 50% BEST buses are under different contractors on wet lease.

Union leader Shashank Rao said that the labour commissioner has assured of a forthcoming meeting involving all relevant parties to address the issues. However, wet lease workers remain steadfast in their demands, which include being officially recognised as BEST workers, receiving equal benefits, and initiating the re-fixation of wages from the first day of service based on the principle of equal pay for equal work.

They are also demanding special facilities for women workers, including enclosed changing areas, separate washrooms, and the immediate establishment of a committee against sexual harassment at workplace.

Demands

- Permanent stature

- Equal pay

- Equal benefits

- Special facilities for women workers

- Re-fixation of wages from the first day of service

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