BEST Strike Called Off After Bombay HC Orders 10-Step Salary Hike
After nine days of agitation, the BEST employees’ union finally called off its indefinite strike acting on Bombay High Court’s directive. Bus services have now resumed across the city.
While hearing a plea against the strike, the Bombay HC had ordered Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) to provide a 10-step increase in salary to its employees, effective from 20 January.
This will be considered as an interim relief as the union has been seeking at least a 15-step increase for employees.
When asked if a 15-step increment would have been possible, BEST replied, “This would be very difficult for us as it will increase the financial burden.” The additional cost for a 15-step increase would be Rs 80 crore per annum.
Aside from salaries, the court has also instructed the BMC to merge BEST budget with that of the BMC at the earliest. While these were the two primary demands that the employees had made, the court also directed BEST to begin mediation with its workers on the other issues that were raised.
Some of the key things that over 30,000 BEST employees have been demanding include – pay hike, revision of pay grade for junior-level employees, and merger of loss-making BEST's budget with that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The court has also asked both BEST and the employees’ union to suggest their representatives, who can mediate on the matter.