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Mumbai breathes easy as BEST strike ends

Asian News International  |  Mumbai 

Employees of the (BEST) called off their two-day strike on late Saturday night, following a meeting between the employees union and the BEST management.
Representatives of the striking employees, who were demanding a pay hike, had a two-hour-long meeting with the management, during which BEST workers' demands were met and an agreement worth Rs 402 crore was reached.
Under the new agreement, BEST employees will get a medical allowance of Rs 350 per month and Pay Revision Committee rules will not be binding on the 44,000 BEST employees. With the BEST buses back on the roads, commuters in Mumbai heaved a sigh of relief on Sunday morning.
BEST workers had launched an indefinite strike from Friday demanding better pay packets. During the strike, nearly 3200 BEST buses had stayed off the road, affecting nearly 50 lakh commuters across Mumbai and its suburbs as about 44,000 BEST employees supported the strike.
Over 42,000 BEST employees have been on an indefinite strike since Thursday midnight, in defiance of a April 20 order issued by an industrial court here that restrained the BEST Kamgar Karmachari Sangathan from resorting to the strike.
BEST union leader Sharad Rao had said they have gone on strike in protest against the freeze on pay revision and the dearness allowance (DA) from this month.
Rao claimed that some of the employees would have to suffer losses between Rs 600 and Rs 1, 800 per month. Officials estimates pegged the revenue loss of about Rs 2 crore during the two-day strike as operations along nearly 335 routes came to a virtual standstill.

First Published: Mon, April 24 2006. 00:00 IST
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