The MSRTC personnel company is on strike, 73 days and counting…
Maharashtra State Transport Corporation (MSRTC) Division strikers are firm on not returning to duty even after several attempts by the state government to appease them, the latest being a meeting between Transport Minister Anil Parab , NCP chief Sharad Pawar and the transport body. unions.
For the past 73 days, MSRTC workers have been on strike over the main demand to urge the transport body to become a department of the state government, a possibility the government has denied citing financial burden .
While the workers refused to toe the union line, the MSRTC and the government also decided to take a strong stand. MSRTC management has started to hire contract drivers, while offering jobs to retirees to allow more buses to run on the streets.
“Few workers have joined the job in the last week and there is still a shortage of drivers and conductors in the division. Although we have started the contract bus operations for Shivneri and Shivshahi buses, to keep the normal ST buses operating at full capacity, we have now started the process of getting contract drivers from the designated agencies,” said Ramakant Gaikwad, Division Controller of MSRTC Pune.
The most crucial part of the unrest was that the strikers refused to join a union, all of which are affiliated with different political parties.
“The State Department of Transportation has appointed four agencies to provide daily contract drivers and initially, daily, eight divisions will receive 100 drivers each to start service starting Sunday. As a result, we have now launched bus operations on various routes with contract drivers. Each driver will receive a salary of approximately ??20,000 per month and these drivers are spread across eight divisions – Pune, Nagpur, Bhandara, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nashik, Aurangabad and Solapur,” Gaikwad added.
For two months, MSRTC workers and several unions have been protesting various demands. A Kruti Samiti of trade unions was formed earlier to have a conversation with the state government. Apparently the main demand for the MSRTC to merge into the state government has been compromised, according to the workers, so now the workers (except union members) are on strike. To support the state government, private tour bus associations donated 2,000 buses for use statewide, operating out of state transportation depots.
Sandeep Jagdale, an MSRTC driver, said: “We had a meeting of all the workers who are still on strike. Although we are all suffering financially, there is a lot of anger against the state government. Until the merger process is completed, we will continue to fight and strike.
Action in Pune Division
In the Pune division of MSRTC, a total of 1,300 workers out of the 4,200 workers have returned to work.
Show cause notices were served on 69 workers
After three rounds of instruction, they will be dismissed if they do not resume their duties.
The Pune division suspended 488 workers, 66 of whom have since returned to work.