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  Metros   Mumbai  10 Jan 2019  BEST may bear Rs 900 crore loss

BEST may bear Rs 900 crore loss

THE ASIAN AGE. | SONU SHRIVASTAVA
Published : Jan 10, 2019, 2:46 am IST
Updated : Jan 10, 2019, 2:46 am IST

Unions are demanding payment as per the master grade to juniors grade employees.

Buses parked at a depot following the strike by BEST employees at Magathane Depot on Tuesday. (Photo: MRUGESH BANDIWADEKAR)
 Buses parked at a depot following the strike by BEST employees at Magathane Depot on Tuesday. (Photo: MRUGESH BANDIWADEKAR)

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), which is already witnessing a severe financial crunch, will have to bear an additional burden of an estimated Rs 900 crore if its management agrees to the demands put forth by labour unions in return for calling off their strike.

The unions are demanding payment as per the master grade to junior grade employees who joined BEST in 2006, besides more than Rs 8,000 interim relief in the new wage agreement that was supposed to come into effect from 2016.

However, sources said that Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Ajoy Mehta asked the unions to call off the strike first and later have a comprehensive discussion on wages and the implementation of the 7th Pay Commission. But, the BEST workers’ union is not willing to bow down before the authorities, saying that it should first fulfil these two demands.

The BEST committee chairman Ashish Che-mburkar on Wednesday said Mr Mehta told the BEST committee and the unions that the issues would be resolved by discussion only. “It cannot be resolved in one discussion. The BMC will prepare a proposal to provide relief to the employees. He said the BEST would face an additional burden of Rs 900 crore if the two major demands of the unions are fulfilled.

A BEST official said that two months ago, the BEST had paid Rs 2,200 crore in-cluding Rs 600 crore in interest to the BMC. the BEST also has a loan of Rs 2,500 crore. The accumulated loss of the BEST is Rs 1,800 crore and its annual loss Rs 720 core.

“How can the administration cope up with an additional burden of Rs 900 crore without taking the BMC’s help,” a member, who was a part of Tu-esday’s meeting with the workers’ union, asked.

He added that it is the need of the hour to involve the BMC in the discussion but claimed that the BEST workers’ union is not ready to do so. “Close to 13,000 employees of the BEST are expected to get benefits if the demands are fulfilled,” he said.  

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