Mumbai News: Flash Strike By Daga Group Contractual Employees Disrupts BEST Bus Services

Mumbai News: Flash Strike By Daga Group Contractual Employees Disrupts BEST Bus Services

The strike, carried out by around 500 workers at Ghatkopar and Mulund depots, caused inconvenience to hundreds of daily commuters during the morning rush hours.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Wednesday, August 02, 2023, 09:49 PM IST
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Bus services operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking faced disruptions on numerous routes due to a flash strike by contractual employees of the private bus operator, Daga Group.

The strike, carried out by around 500 workers at Ghatkopar and Mulund depots, caused inconvenience to hundreds of daily commuters during the morning rush hours.

Impact on Commuters and Operations

"The strike resulted in 160 wet lease buses, which BEST had hired from the Daga Group, being off the road on Wednesday ,leading to long queues at bus stops in Ghatkopar, Mulund, and Vikhroli areas" said an official.

Passengers expressed frustration as they faced delays of up to 40 to 50 minutes to catch a bus at several routes.

"I forced the wait more than 40 minutes in the morning at Ghatkopar bus depot for the bus " said Sandeep Shah 54 of Cheda Nagar.

Similarly Rajesh Kamble , 36 of Mulund said, " During morning hours hundred of passengers were waiting for bus at Mulund depot, there was a complete chaos, later few busses were deployed by BEST at arround 11 am."

Responses from BEST

In response to the strike, a senior BEST official stated that nearly 3000 buses were still operational, with additional buses deployed from other depots to cover the affected routes and minimize disruptions.

Regarding the action taken against the contractor, the BEST official revealed that the agreement allowed for a minimum fine of Rs 5000 per day per bus for the contractor's buses that did not operate on Wednesday. Consequently, the contractor could face a daily fine of at least Rs 8 lakh.

Demands of Striking Employees

The demands raised by the striking employees included merging the budget of BEST into the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) budget, an increase in the salary of wet lease bus drivers, an end to alleged harassment by the contractor, and the implementation of 'same work, same salary' along with improved facilities for wet lease bus drivers, similar to those provided to BEST bus drivers.

BEST officials assured that discussions with the contractor is on, and they hoped to resolve the issue by Thursday morning. However, there were concerns that the strike might be extended, as some BEST union leaders also supporting the agitation.

Under wet lease model, private operators own the buses while taking responsibility for maintenance, fuel, and drivers' salaries.

List of Demands:

Merge the budget of BEST in to the BMC budget

Increase salary of wet lease bus driver

Stop harrasment by the contractor

Implement 'same work same salary ' and provide facility to the wet lease bus driver which is being given to the BEST bus driver

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