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No end to woes: BEST employees refuse to end strike until their demands are met

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There seems to be no end to woes of scores of commuters in Mumbai as an indefinite strike called by employees of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) continued for the fourth consecutive day on Friday after talks between the union leaders and the officials remained inconclusive.

At least 32,000 employees of Mumbai’s civic transport from a long time have been demanding for merging of BEST budget with ‘A’ budget of BMC. They are also seeking resolution of the issue of employee service residences and recruitment. When the talks with the authorities failed, the employees resorted to the strike.

Shiv Sena party controls the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). In the presence of Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta and the BEST Commissioner Surendra Kumar Bagde, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray met the BEST union leaders on Thursday evening.

The negotiations between the members went on nearly for seven hours but failed to break the deadlock.

BEST, the lifeline of Mumbai has a fleet size of as many as 3200 buses. It the second largest transport system in the metropolis after local trains which ferry more than 70 lakh commuters on a daily basis.

Moreover, a PIL was filed in the Bombay High Court on Thursday seeking a direction to BEST workers to end the strike. The court will be hearing it on Friday.

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