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MSRTC suspends 376 staffers for not calling off strike despite most demands being fulfilled

The MSRTC is likely to file a contempt petition against the employees in the court as the court had allowed it to do so

Written by Vallabh Ozarkar | Mumbai |
Updated: November 9, 2021 11:45:24 pm
MSRTC employees have been on strike since October 27. (File)

376 staffers of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) have been suspended by the corporation for participating in the strike, which continued on Tuesday with a total 247 of the 250 bus depots in the state shut. Sources said the MSRTC is also considering salary cuts for the employees — eight days’ salary cut for the one-day strike.

8 days salary cut for the 1-day strike

MSRTC employees have been on strike since October 27 demanding the merger of the corporation with the state government so that they will be treated as government employees and be able to avail salaries and benefits available to government servants.

MSRTC officials said the action of suspension has been taken as the staffers remained on strike even after the government had accepted most of their demands and a high-level committe had been formed to look into the demand of the corporation’s merger following instructions from the Bombay High Court.

An official said the industrial court had termed the strike illegal and the High Court had also asked the employees to refrain from going on strike since November 3, but the strike continued and the disciplinary action of suspension was then taken. More staffers could also be suspended, the official added.

As the action was taken against the employees allegedly involved in the strike at 7 pm on Tuesday, the Joint Action Committee sent a letter to the corporation to stop the action. Accordingly, the committee has been invited to the Transport Minister’s office in the ministry for discussion and a letter in this regard has been sent to the committee by the general manager of the corporation, Madhav Kale.

Meanwhile, the MSRTC is likely to file a contempt petition against the employees in the court as the court had allowed it to do so, a source said.

Shashank Rao, president of the Sangharsh ST Kamgar Union, termed the suspension wrong.

“We will contest if the government files a contempt petition in the court and the action (of suspension) is wrong. Instead of solving the staffers’ issue, they are taking action against them. At least 37 ST employees have died by suicide but the government has not woken up…The strike will continue,” Rao told The Indian Express.

Maharashtra ST Employees Joint Action Committee had called an indefinite strike from October 27 with the demands and Anil Parab, the state transport minister, in a meeting with the delegation of the committee on October 28 had announced a hike in the dearness allowance of 28 per cent for ST employees and a hike in the housing allowance.

Despite an order by the Industrial Court on October 29, the Sangharsh ST workers’ Union and the Kanishth Vetan ST Kamgar Union issued a notice to the ST Corporation to call a strike from November 3 midnight.

The MSRTC had then approached the HC against the notice and the strike so as not to inconvenience passengers during the Diwali holiday.

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