The Maharashtra government, in an effort to make MSRTC employees call back their month-long strike, announced a hike of up to 41 per cent in the salaries of Transport Corporation employees. The employees, however, said they were not satisfied with the hike and would end their strike only after the Maharashtra government acceded to their demand for merger of the corporation with the state government.
State Transport Minister Anil Parab announced the pay hike for different slabs at a press conference after the second round of meeting with BJP MLCs Gopichand Padalkar and Sadabhou Khot. Even when Parab appealed to them to resume duty, workers living in various depots as well as at Azad Maidan continued to insist on the merger. Arguing that after becoming a government employee, they will automatically start getting all the benefits.
Parab increased the basic pay by Rs 5,000 monthly for those in service for 1-10 years, Rs 4,000 for 11-20 years of service and Rs 2,500 for those who were with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). announced. He also promised employees an increase in their monthly allowances.
Parab said that he has also discussed the issue with NCP president Sharad Pawar. Describing the state transport corporation’s “biggest hike in history”, Parab said incentives would be given to bus conductors and drivers, who would play a major role in boosting the corporation’s revenue. The government will ensure that the salaries of the employees whose salaries have become uncertain due to the pandemic are released before the 10th of every month.
He said the increase in salary would cost the corporation an additional Rs 60 crore every month, adding that MSRTC employees would also get Dearness Allowance (DA) and House Rent Allowance (HRA) at par with government employees. Parab appealed to the employees to resume duty to mitigate the hardships faced by the people especially in rural areas, saying that the suspension would be revoked immediately after the employees return to work. However, he said that strict action will be taken against the employees who do not return to work.
Parab said the new hike would be effective from November’s salary. Parab later said that the government had already taken steps to address the issues of the workers, adding that if they took “any other step now”, the government would be forced to “take strong steps”. However, the employees were in no mood to bow down. We will discuss with the workers in the night and announce their decision on Thursday morning. Right now, there are very mixed feelings among the employees and it would not be appropriate to say anything,” Padalkar said.
Advocate Gunaratna Sadavarte, representing labor unions in the Bombay High Court, said the government was using the court order regarding the formation of a committee to look into the demands as a tool to avoid merger of MSRTC with the state government. has been The court has not barred them from taking any decision on the merger. In fact, if the government takes any positive decision on the merger even before the (12-week) deadline, it will be better for everyone. The strike will continue till the merger.
Jagnarayan Gupta of Sangharsh ST Kamgar Union said, “The workers have already decided to continue with the strike as they (government) have not accepted our demand but are cheating on us to end the strike. If they can give hike then who is stopping them from announcing merger? The strike will continue till the demand for merger is met.