BEST workers to go on lockdown from Monday

Key demands include better safety, ₹1 crore compensation for families of deceased workers

Several unions representing workers of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking on Thursday said workers will observe a ‘lockdown’ from Monday. The unions have been demanding better facilities for BEST workers, who are among the key frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19.

The steering body of the unions, BEST Sanyukt Kamgaar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS), said that the BEST administration should immediately put in place a series of measure to ensure the safety of workers. “There have been seven deaths. Over 600 workers are in quarantine. Yet the administration does not seem to have woken up to the fact that the workers are at risk,” said Shashank Rao, BSKKS leader.

Their key demands include ₹1 crore compensation to families of workers who die due to COVID-19, a separate hospital for BEST workers who test positive or show symptoms, a separate quarantine facility for asymptomatic patients, and daily testing of all workers. The BSKKS has also demanded special leave for those who have been quarantined, which should not be deducted from their pending leave. “We also want the BEST administration to stop sending notices to workers stuck in their villages due to the lockdown. They shouldn’t be forced to return,” Mr. Rao said.

BEST officials said more than 10,000 workers had been examined so far and over 547 had been given fitness certificates after undergoing quarantine. At least 53 workers are undergoing treatment at various hospitals. As many as 37 have been discharged, including four on Thursday. On Wednesday, a sixth BEST worker, a resident of Ghatkopar, passed away. BEST has been running services for essential employees, including point-to-point services for hospital staff, across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:12:04 AM |

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