BEST bus strike in Mumbai called off after 9 days

BEST bus strike in Mumbai called off after 9 days

Agency News

Mumbai, Jan 16: Mumbaikar got a sigh of relief, as nine day-long strike of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) called off on Wednesday after the High Court appointed a retired judge as a mediator to negotiate the issues.

Hearing all parties in the case, the High Court directed BEST union to announce the withdrawal of strike within one hour, following which the decision was taken.

The official announcement to call off their strike was taken by its Union leader, Sashank Rao in a meeting at Wadala here. The court also directed the BEST to provide a 10-step increment with effect from January 20, 2019.

Besides, the court also instructed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra government to start the process of merger of budget at the earliest.

While no action was ordered against the striking employees, BEST authorities were asked to sort out the remaining issues amicably with the workers.

BEST strike was the longest such protest in the history of the BEST as it entered its ninth day on Wednesday. Over 32,000 BEST employees were being supporting the stir since 8 January. The workers had pressed for various demands, including pay hike, revision of pay grade for junior level employees, and merger of loss-making BEST's budget with that of the BMC.

Since last week, the high court had been hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Datta Mane urging the court to pass interim orders directing BEST workers to call off the strike immediately.

The state government had last week invoked the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) against the striking employees. (UNI)