Finally, lakhs of Mumbai commuters can heave a sigh of relief as the BEST workers’ union called off the strike in response to a 10- step pay hike to be granted to them as an interim measure by the civic transport undertaking’s management, said Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, AIAI. The 9-day old strike by around 32,000 BEST workers had severely crippled the transport system, a critical lifeline of Mumbai, inconveniencing lakhs of commuters. Businesses suffered, schools and colleges were affected and all civic services were hampered. In an unprecedented move, BEST workers resorted to a protracted strike since January 8 over their demands , including pay hike, revision of pay scale of their junior level employees and merger of BEST’s budget with that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, stated Mr. Kalantri.
Further Mr. Kalantri added, while the contending parties will go for mediation to resolve their dispute, it is inconceivable that BEST workers should have resorted to this step given that their services fall under the Maharashtra Essential Services Act. While this could have been avoided, the law enforcing authorities need to take serious note of this incident to avoid recurrence of such incidents in the future in the interest of public life.