Updated: November 14, 2021 9:08:17 am
As the strike of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) staffers continues on the 17th day, state Transport Minister Anil Parab on Saturday announced that the government will take a positive decision by studying the demand to pay them at par with government employees.
On Saturday, the workers under the leadership of BJP MLA Gopichand Padalkar and Rayat Kranti Sanghatana founder and MLA Sadabhau Khot met Parab and Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte and other officials at Sahyadri Guest House to discuss the strike, which is going on since October 27. The staffers are demanding the merger of MSRTC with the state government.
Officials said that Parab told the delegation that in line with the demands of trade unions, MSRTC staffers have been given a hike of 28 per cent dearness allowance and housing allowance like the government employees.
“Taking into account the sentiments of ST workers, the government will take a positive decision by studying the demand to pay them like government employees,” Parab told the delegation.
The state government has set up a committee following the order of the Bombay High Court regarding the merger of the corporation with the government, which the protesters claim will give them better salaries and benefits at par with the government employees.
The committee is supposed to submit its report to the government within 12 weeks. “If the committee recommends the merger, we will accept it,” the transport minister said.
Officials indicated that a salary hike and additional facilities for the MSRTC staffers could be considered but the merger of the corporation is difficult as it may trigger similar demands from the other corporations. Additional facilities for the MSRTC staffer at par to the government employees could be considered, an official added.
Hundreds of MSRTC staffers across the state have gathered at Azad Maidan in South Mumbai to protest and press for their demands since Wednesday.
Even as the strike continued on Saturday, the corporation managed to run 71 buses, however, most of these buses were run by the private operators. Around 1,938 passengers travelled in these 71 buses on Saturday.
An official said that of the 92,266 staffers, only 3,166 reported to work on Saturday. Of the 3,166 staffers, most were from the administration while only 143 were conductors and drivers.
Meanwhile, Parab also met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday to discuss the MSRTC strike. The MNS chief Raj Thackeray had also met Pawar on Friday to discuss the issue.
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