BEST Bus Strike in Mumbai: Lakhs of Commuters Affected as Red Buses go Off Roads
BEST bus (Photo Credits: PTI)

Mumbai, January 8: Commuters in Mumbai faced a harrowing time on Tuesday as public transport vehicles, including the civic-run Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses, went off the roads. The BEST employees began their two-day indefinite strike from January 7 midnight to protest for their long-pending demands. The BEST management had declared the strike illegal and issued internal circulars warning staffers of strict action if they proceeded with it. Bharat Bandh, Bank Strike on January 8, 9.

When all talks between the parties failed, the BEST management approached the Industrial Court here seeking relief against the strike. Despite an industrial court restraining them from taking the step, nearly 29,000 BEST employees began the indefinite strike. According to reports, the strike is likely to affect around 25 lakh passengers who commute by 3000 BEST buses that ply on streets of Mumbai every day. Bharat Bandh Tomorrow: Left-Dominated Kerala, West Bengal Brace For Maximum Shutdown Impact.

Take a look at their demands:

  1. Various unions of BEST workers are demanding the renewal of their salary agreements that got expired in 2016, rise in gratuity and bonus amounts.
  2. BEST employees are also seeking immediate resolution of housing issues and merger of various undertakings of BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport)--the civic transport and electricity provider public body based in Mumbai.
  3. The unions also demanded that BEST and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) budgets be merged.
  4. The official said the employees decided to go on strike, as the BEST administration failed to come up with any concrete solution to resolve their long-pending demands.

On Monday, the BEST employees had declared they would go on strike alleging that mounting BEST losses were causing delays in salary disbursal. Reports inform that the union has also demanded that BEST and BMC budgets be merged.

According to reports, the Maharashtra government might slap Essential Services Maintethe nance Act (ESMA) on the striking employees. The Act gives police the right to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating the provisions.