The employee union of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking on Wednesday deferred its strike, which was to start from midnight of February 14. After the industrial court on Wednesday directed the undertaking to postpone taking buses on wet lease, the workers unions backed out from the strike. The BEST committee had on Monday passed the proposal to take 450 buses on wet lease. The employee union of BEST announced an indefinite strike against the decision claiming the move will cause loss of jobs.
“We have deferred the strike as the court has agreed to look into the policy of taking buses on wet lease. Till the next court hearing on March 5, our strike is called off,” Shashank Rao, leader of BEST Kamgar Sanghatana said. The undertaking was to take 200 mini non-AC buses,200 mini AC buses and 50 midi buses on wet lease. Officials from the undertaking said they would abide by the court order. “The order requires us to consult the employees and keep them in confidence about the fate of their jobs. Till that is done, the proposal is deferred,” a senior BEST official said.
Meanwhile, the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) has opposed the move stating that it is an attempt to privatise BEST. “By hiring 450 buses, a conspiracy is being hatched to close the profit making routes and increase the losses of the BEST. The people should come together to thwart the move by the government and the BMC. The BEST services should be smooth and cheaper,” said PM Vartak, general secretary of the Mumbai unit of CITU.