Talks on to prevent strike

Negotiations for fresh wage pact pending

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking administration has been holding talks with workers’ unions to pre-empt another strike. The BEST Workers’ Union had called for a strike after July 6 if the administration failed to start wage negotiation talks with them.

BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said they will be holding another round of talks on Tuesday. “The wage agreement is being undertaken after six years and the discussions will take time,” he said.

As part of the MoU signed between the BEST, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the BEST Workers’ Union, negotiations for a fresh wage agreement were to have started along with increasing the pay grade of workers inducted after 2007 and paying gratuity to retired workers.

Mr. Bagde said the pay grade increase and gratuity payments have been fulfilled. The BMC had already paid ₹300 crore over the past three months and have assured the unions of ₹200 crore towards workers’ gratuity payments. Due to the undertaking’s dire financial situation, gratuity payments of over a thousand retired workers amounting to nearly ₹400 crore were pending.

Meanwhile, the BEST Workers’ Union has called for a meeting on Tuesday to decide on whether to call a strike or not. Last week, in a move that divested the union of its powers, the State government had removed the BEST from the ambit of the Bombay Industrial Relations Act, 1946, thereby revoking the status of the BEST Workers’ Union as the only recognised union of BEST workers in the transport department.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 1:27:01 PM |

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