THE BRIHANMUMBAI Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) administration on Thursday approved a hike in salaries of employees, ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000, depending on their pay grade.
The administration signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shiv Sena-backed union BEST Kamgar Sena and BMC. The MoU stated that employees are going get a pay hike from September and that a new wage agreement will be signed by November 20.
However, BEST Sanyukt Kamagar Kruti Samiti, an umbrella body of all major BEST employees’ unions, is yet to sign the MoU.
BEST General Manager Dr Surendra Kumar Bagade said, “We have offered the salary hike to all but till now, only BEST Kamgar Sena had signed the MoU. The hike will reflect in the October salary.” He added that the decision has been taken based on the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.
Suhas Samant, the BEST Kamgar Sena leader said: ‘We have accepted the offer of the BEST administration. It has covered almost all our demands. Besides the salary hike, it has been decided that the new wage agreement will be in place for five years — from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2021.”
Samant added that employees will receive Diwali bonus before October 15 this year. BEST has around 36,500 employees.
Asked why Sanyukt Kamagar Kruti Samiti has not signed the MoU, union general secretary Shashank Rao said that he is yet to read the offer. “Following this, a meeting will BEST workers will be organised and a final call taken,” he added.
In January, the BEST Sanyukt Kamagar Kruti Samiti had staged a nine-day-long strike over its demand that wet leasing of BEST buses should not harm employees. Other demands included employees get a 10-step hike, a fresh wage agreement pending since 2016 and merger of BEST budget with BMC. After the strike, the BMC, BEST administration and the Samiti had signed an MoU, in which it was agreed that a fresh wage agreement will be signed. Last month too, Samiti members had sat on a hunger strike.