Pawar urges MSRTC employees to return to work, says no action will be taken against them
MUMBAI In a meeting on Monday between Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra state transport minister Anil Parab with Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees’ unions, Pawar urged the employees to resume work immediately.
To incentivise employees to return to work, the state government assured them not to take any action against nearly 50,000 employees that are still on strike. The government has also promised that suspended or terminated employees will be considered for withdrawal of action once the transport services are back on track.
The MSRTC employee union has also asked the employees to return to work and stated that they would continue to ask for their demands while on duty. Earlier, the Maharashtra government had also announced a hike in salaries by 41 per cent and a raise on their basic pay.
“I am happy that the employees’ unions are positive about the appeal made by the government. We should all safeguard the interest of the corporation and should not forget that our commitment is towards the passengers. I have requested the workers to resume work immediately. The MSRTC has been going through a financial crisis because of the pandemic despite the fact that the employees have been given a pay hike up to 41%. The government was positive about the demands of the employees,” said Pawar.
Pawar also said that the merger of the MSRTC as a government entity was a matter of sub-judice. “The court-appointed committee is working on it and the state government will act on it according to the court order. The state government has already clarified its stand. There is no point talking about it since the matter is sub-judice,” he said.
Further, the employee union on Monday raised the demand of inclusion of the corporation again to the state government and raised the salary on par with the seventh pay commission.
“We had a detailed discussion today with Sharad Pawar and Anil Parab. The strike has been ongoing for more than two months and we are happy with the discussions that happened today. Our demands will be considered by the state government. I request all the employees to return to work and we would continue discussions with the government regarding our demands.” said Sandip Shinde, member of MSRTC employee union.
MSRTC had earlier stated that they suffered an accumulated loss of Rs.12,000 crore due to lockdown, which eventually delayed the salaries of employees.
State transport minister Anil Parab said that the employees should report to work without any fear and there will be no action taken against them.
“I had made an appeal to the employees on strike on three occasions in the past as well. 50,000 striking employees have been issued show cause notices. We would not initiate any action against them if they resume work immediately. The employees’ unions have demanded the pay scale to be raised on par with the seventh pay commission recommendations applicable to the state employees. The demand will be positively looked into once everything in MSRTC gets streamlined. The employees have also pointed at the difference between the proposed pay hike and the two agreements done with the employees. An amicable decision will soon be taken,” said Parab.
About 96,000 employees of the corporation across the state went on a strike from October 27, 2021 demanding a hike in payment and inclusion of the corporation in the state government.
The MSRTC, one of the largest state transport bus services in India, is the only affordable transport service for people particularly residing in rural Maharashtra and has a fleet of nearly 18,000 buses.