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Mumbai: BEST union suspends strike due to upcoming Ganesh festival

Sources in the BEST said that chances of a strike and putting buses off-road might not happen due to Ganesh festival around the corner.

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Ganpati might bless Mumbaikars and spare them another round of strike this year by the employee union of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST). On Tuesday, Shashank Rao led BEST Sanyukt Kaamgar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS) declared that they will go on an indefinite hunger strike from August 27 itself, outside Wadala depot.

Sources in the BEST said that chances of a strike and putting buses off-road might not happen due to Ganesh festival around the corner.

This decision was taken on Tuesday evening after the BSKKS held an internal meeting with their employees. According to the sources, it was decided that they will go on an indefinite fast and not strike, which will, however, put buses off-road. The BSKKS blamed Shiv Sena led BEST for failing to take steps in addressing the issues of its employees.

A pamphlet distributed after the meet read, "Maharashtra government, BMC and BEST Committee is run by Shiv Sena, however, they have failed to do anything on salary revision of BEST employees, and address other problems on which discussions are on from the past few days now."

Putting The Brakes On Strike

Chances of strike and putting buses off-road  by BEST union might not happen due to Ganesh festival around the corner
Union said that the administration failed to do anything on salary revision and other problems
However, BEST said, they have paid Rs 500 crore to its employees

In the backdrop, on Tuesday morning, there was a BEST Committee meeting which was postponed over the death of former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Amidst this, the sword of a probable strike by more than 39,000 BEST employees was still hanging. Later that evening, the BEST administration held a meeting with BSKKS.

On the other hand, the BEST administration claims that they have been paying provident fund, gratuity and other arrears to their employees. Rs 500 crore already have been paid to the employees waiting from April 2017 and April 2018. More repayments shall happen in the months to come. Moreover, the BEST has received Rs 916 crore of Rs 1600 crore provided by BMC to address various other issues raised by the union.

"After spending so many days discussing the issues with the administration, it would have been wrong if the union went on strike. It is just a matter of few more days after which situation will be better," said Anil Patankar, Shiv Sena leader and chairman of BEST Committee.

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