Maharashtra Transport Workers' Strike Illegal: Bombay High Court

Nearly 1 lakh employees of the corporation had been on strike demanding the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations

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Maharashtra Transport Workers' Strike Illegal: Bombay High Court

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The high court has ordered the workers to call off the strike with immediate effect.

Mumbai:  Bus services in Maharashtra resumed today morning after employees of the state road transport corporation called off their strike. The decision was made late on Friday night by a core committee of the employees' union. Yesterday, the Bombay High Court had termed the protest by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation or MSRTC as illegal. The high court had ordered the workers to call off the strike with immediate effect.

In a late evening order, Justice S K Shinde also directed the committee, set up by the state government to look into the employees' issues, to submit its interim report by November 15 and the final report on December 21.

Nearly 1 lakh employees of the corporation had been on strike demanding the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations.

The MSRTC has already lost Rs 75 crore due to the employees' strike which was suspected would continue on 'Bhai Dooj' -- a festival during which brothers usually travel to their sister's homes.

Several commuters have been finding it difficult to get from one place to another, especially in rural villages across Maharashtra, where the MSRTC or ST buses as they are colloquially known, are the only mode of transport.

The corporation has suffered huge losses in the past as well, but the strike during the festive season will further dent revenues of the already loss-making body.  

Rajan Yelve, speaking on behalf of the protesters told NDTV, "We have been making these demands for the last three months. We want payment for our workers. We know its Diwali but we also need to run our families."

"We have faith in the courts. The court knows that the minimum wage should be 18,000 a month but we are getting much less than that," Mr Yelve added. 

The matter has reached the Bombay High Court where a PIL has been filed on the issue and the court is hearing the matter.

A 12-hour marathon meeting between Maharashtra's Transport Minister Diwakar Raote and employee unions failed to resolve the issue earlier. Talks were called off on Thursday morning when the minister said that that discussions will continue only after the strike is called off. 

Around 65 lakh passengers use ST buses across the state daily. Nearly all of the 58,000 buses that run on different routes across the state are off the roads.

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