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Section of MSRTC staffers go on strike demanding pay hike

Employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation went on strike on Friday at several of the state-run undertaking’s depots demanding an immediate pay hike.

Bus services were affected due to the strike and thousands of commuters bore the brunt of it.

An MSRTC official said that the strike had affected operations at its depots in Parel, Mumbai Central, Uran, Panvel and Kurla and bus services to cities like Pune and Nashik were affected.

The strike comes two days after the MSRTC announced an 18 per cent fare hike for customers on the back of higher fuel and wage bills.

A senior MSRTC official said that a section of the staff did not report to work, affecting bus operations.

“This move (of nor reporting to duty) is unacceptable and a resolution has been passed to take stern action against the erring employees. We have not received a notice from any union regarding the strike,” he said.

He said that, in the absence of a strike notice, the administration was in the dark about those who had called the strike as well as their demands.

Rajan Yevle, former divisional secretary of the Maharashtra State Transport Kamgar Sanghatana, however, justified the employees’ actions and claimed that their “minuscule” salaries was making it “impossible for them to survive”.

“Can you believe that our ST drivers get only Rs 10-11 thousand in monthly wages? Moreover, they have to stay out of their homes for at least 15 days of the month as part of their work,” Yevle said.

He said that a demand for a wage hike was being made for the past two years but the administration had been ignoring it.

Over 1.02 lakh MSRTC staffers had struck work in October last year, a few days ahead of Diwali, demanding salaries in line with the 7th Pay Commission recommendations.

The transport undertaking has around 17,500 buses in its fleet and makes 56,756 trips every day.

While it has an annual turnover of around Rs 7,000 crore, it also incurs losses to the tune of Rs 2 crore every day.

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