Even as Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab had given an ultimatum to the employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), who have been on a strike over their demands, to rejoin duty on Friday, only a section of workers resumed work this morning, officials said.
The MSRTC is compiling information about how many workers resumed duty across the state on Friday, they said. Till 10 am, the transport body operated only 151 buses across the state, the majority of them in the Sangli and Raigad divisions. Of these buses, 116 were ordinary ones, while the remaining were air-conditioned ‘Shivneri’ and ‘Shivshahi’ buses, a spokesperson of the MSRTC said.
The MSRTC workers have been on a strike since October 28, demanding a merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government, which will give them the status of state government employees and better salaries. In a bid to end the strike, Parab had on Wednesday declared a hike of Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 in the basic salaries for employees and had also given a 24-hour deadline to the employees to return to duty.
On Thursday, Parab had also warned that strict action would be taken against the employees if they fail to resume work on Friday. However, most of the employees are adamant on the merger demand and they are firm on going ahead with the strike for it.
MSRTC is one of the biggest public transport bodies in the county with a fleet of around 16,000 buses and around 93,000 employees. The loss-making corporation used to ferry around 65 lakh passengers before the pandemic.
According to the corporation, over 9,700 employees had joined duty and it had operated over 500 buses across the state, on Thursday. Since November 9, it was the highest number of employees who reported for duty as well as the daily bus services operated.