August 30, 2021 10:41:28 pm
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees organised protests at every bus depot in the state to request the government to release their pending salaries.
Employees of MSRTC — which is facing huge losses and has been delaying salaries of staff since last year — have not yet got their pay for July, according to Jag Narayan Kahar, general secretary of MSRTC Kamgar (workers) union.
“There are examples of employees taking extreme steps. Hence, we organised the protest outside every depot in Maharashtra, following Covid appropriate behaviour. We will give authorities eight days to release salary, and take further action after a meeting with everyone,” he said.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray highlighting the issue and urging him to find a solution.
The corporation, which runs inter- as well as intra-district public transport services, is facing huge losses. While it was facing a cash crunch before the lockdown last year, the corporation saw losses shooting up to Rs 9,500 crore this year. The salaries of its 98,000 employees have been getting delayed for the past one year.
“In a petition by the Sangharsh union to get wages of July 2021 on time, the court on August 14 issued an interim order asking the corporation to pay wages on a regular basis, but the corporation has not done so till date. As a result, due to financial constraints, driver Ramesh Bedse from Sakri died by suicide. Hence we protested at depots and submitted a statement to the depot manager demanding immediate implementation of the labour court order,” said Shashank Rao of Sangharsh ST Kamgar union, adding that the protest could intensify if salaries are not paid on time.
In his letter to the CM, Fadnavis also mentioned the suicide, and added that there have been other incidents of employees dying by suicide in Telhara, Shahada, Kandhar and Sakri talukas.
The former CM said, “Even last year, two state transport employees, Manoj Chaudhuri in Jalgaon and Pandurang Gadade in Ratnagiri districts, died by suicide. I had written a letter to the CM bringing to his notice the serious incidents due to non-payment of salaries… Instead of course correction by the government, it has come to notice that police are questioning and cracking the whip on family members of the deceased, resulting in massive anger and unrest among state transport employees.”
He wrote, “Under such circumstances, it is my ardent appeal to the CM to intervene and ensure immediate payment of salaries to employees.”
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