Mumbai: The Bombay High Court came down heavily on the striking employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and asked them to resume work forthwith. The decision to call off the strike was taken in a late night Core committee meeting.
MSRTC employees went on an indefinite strike on October 17 demanding the implementation of 7th pay commission. "This is affecting the public at large, especially during the festive season", the court added.
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State transport minister Diwakar Raote told Hindustan Times that the high court held that this strike was illegal. "Therefore, we have now called an indefinite strike", said Dileep, a member of a staff union. "However, it will take a few more hours for operations to become normal", said a senior MSRTC official.
The court, which was hearing two PILs seeking that the stir be declared illegal, directed the committee to submit its interim report by November 15 and the final report on December 21. "Since the services of the Corporation are in the nature of public utility and since the strike has caused huge inconvenience to the rural population and since the respondent, Union is not willing to have a resort to the machinery provided by the State, this Court is of the view that the strike is, prima-facie, illegal", the court had observed. Lakhs of passengers were affected by the strike as almost 17000 buses went off roads. "Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that since last four days, the commuters, children, patients, handicapped persons, senior citizens are facing vast difficulties and as such, transport system in the rural parts of the State has collapsed to the considerable extent".
More than 17 thousand buses run throughout the entire state, and about one lakh workers are on strike. "The same night, MSRTC rejected our notice saying as per the Industrial Disputes Act, a strike notice must be given six weeks in advance".