Updated on: Monday, January 10, 2022, 11:27 PM IST

Mumbai: Has MSRTC staff ended their strike? Here's the latest update from Sharad Pawar's meeting with the stakeholders

State Transport Minister Anil Parab said that employees should return to work without any fear. No action will be taken against employees returning to work, he added.

Almost 76 days into the strike by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), there has been a major breakthrough. The action committee of 20 unions of the striking employees reacted positively to a call given by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, after a marathon meeting on Monday in the presence of Transport Minister Anil Parab. The action committee has urged the striking employees to immediately report to work, after Pawar assured that their demands would be sympathetically considered by the state government and the MSRTC.

The striking employees are expected to report to work in 250 depots from Tuesday.

Pawar appealed to the employees to call off their stir and be practical in putting forth their demands. Making an emotional appeal to the striking staff, he said, “Trust the government and come back to work, all your demands will be met.” “The ST has been a lifeline for the state and its statewide operations should start immediately,” he said.

He, however, has completely ruled out the possibility of MSRTC’s merger with the state government, as sought by the striking employees. “We do not want to politicise the merger issue. ST’s commitment is with the passengers. The state government has clarified its position on the merger demand,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had announced during the winter session of the legislature that the employees should not push for MSRTC’s merger with the state government, as it would not happen.

The intervention by the NCP chief, followed by the action committee’s positive response, came after nearly 25,000 of the 93,000 employees, returned to work in different depots across the state. The management has suspended 11,024 employees and dismissed 1,400 for defying repeated calls to report for duty. As reported by The Free Press Journal, the management had, two days ago had served show-cause notices to 55,000 employees. The MSRTC has incurred a loss of over Rs 600 crore so far, due to the ongoing strike.

Parab, who has made several appeals to the striking employees, said issues could be resolved through discussion but no one would benefit by holding people hostage. “Employees have been given a ‘historic’ rise in basic pay. There have been some differences over the pay rise and the matter has been discussed with the action committee, which has demanded that the salary increase should be given as per the 7th Pay Commission. The MSRTC management will look into the demand and it will decide after the commencement of ST services in full gear,” he said.

Parab assured that the management would not take action against employees returning to work.

The MNS ST Kamgar Sena leader Hari Mali has also urged the striking employees to immediately report to work.

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Published on: Monday, January 10, 2022, 11:28 PM IST