HC directs unions, state government to hold discussions and resolve issue.
Mumbai: Despite the state government’s assurance to resolve issues of workers, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) workers’ union has refused to call off the strike on Friday. Therefore, citizens got no relief from the Bombay high court on Friday.
The state government informed the court that they have constituted a three-member committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to listen and resolve the workers’ issues. But the workers’ union lawyer informed that the union couldn’t call off the strike, as it needs to put forth this proposal before the BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS). The court then directed BSKKS to discuss and try to call off the strike by holding a meeting with the state government on Saturday.
Advocate general Ashu-tosh Kumbhakoni told the court that the Brihan-mumbai Municipal Corp-oration (BMC) and BEST officials will also attend the meeting of the three-member committee.
Lawyers of the BMC and the BEST said that they were open to resolve the civic bus service emp-loyees’ issues as long as the union cooperated and stopped holding a gun to their heads. At this, the court noted that as the authorities had already constituted a committee and were willing to resolve the matter, the union must make efforts to end the stalemate.
A division bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N.M. Jamdar said that, “The city has a certain reputation. So many commuters have been affected on a daily basis. You can’t hold the city to ransom in this manner by withholding essential services,” the bench said. Once the union holds meeting and takes a ‘positive decision’, its representatives will meet the newly constituted government committee on Saturday, it added.
The court was hearing a PIL, filed by lawyer Datta Mane, seeking a direction to the BEST workers to call off the strike immediately
Since Tuesday, nearly 32,000 BEST employees have gone on an indefinite strike to press for their demands.