The longest strike in the history of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) which has been going for 130 days doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. On October 28, 2021 almost 90000 workers of MSRTC went on strike and since then the lifeline of the state has stopped.
MSRTC a.k.a ST is known as the lifeline of the state as it is the only mode of transport available in many rural areas and its subsidised fare makes it more affordable. ST has more than 18000 buses which employee over 1,02,2000 workers, and serves about 67 lac citizens every day.
Pandemic hasn’t left anyone unaffected, before the first lockdown ST used to run about 15000 to 16000 buses with a revenue of 20 crores daily. The wrath of pandemic was such that after the second wave in 2021, their daily revenue fell down Rs 10 crore daily. In addition to the losses, the salaries of thousands of workers were delayed for months leaving the workers in dying conditions.
In an approx number, about 54 MSRTC workers have committed suicide due to financial problems. Seeing the recurring losses, workers that the ST might be privatized, the fear of losing jobs have led the workers to demand the MSRTC workers should be absorbed as state government workers. Which means better benefits, housing allowance, increase in salaries and medical services.
In a report by News Laundry, its stated that the current MVA government doesn’t want to merge MSRTC in as it would set a tone for other loss-making corporations to follow the similar actions. The state cant afford to do so.
Although, the state has met some demands put forward by the workers such as increase in salary, dearness amount and a court-appointed committee for grievances. But for those who are still on strike, this isn’t enough.
The strike was termed as illegal by a labour court in Mumbai, but all the appeals to workers come back has gone to vain. After 130 days, the strike has lost its momentum but is still going on. About 30% of workers tried to come back to work, but due to peer pressure are clueless about what to do. MSRTC has hired about 900 private drivers, and about 50 of them work in the Pune division.
Up till January 18, about 11,024 workers had been suspended going on the strike, and contracts of 4222 workers have been terminated. Out of all the workers, about 26,725 workers had resumed work in the same month.
The strike at this point is leaderless, MSRTC doesn’t know whom to negotiate with as most of the unions have parted themselves from this longest strike of MSRTC history. Between these 130 days of stalemate game, the innocent citizens of Maharashtra have surely suffered the most.
TagsMSRTC, ST, Strike, Workers, Maharashtra, Home