Strict action will be taken against employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) if they do not rejoin duty within the given deadline on Friday, warned state transport minister Anil Parab on Friday. 

This came a day after Parab gave a 24-hour deadline to the employees to return to duty.

“Those who are protesting in Mumbai, and are based in Mumbai, can join (back to work) tomorrow. Those who are from outside can join from the day after tomorrow,” he had said.

He had also declared a hike of 2,500 to 5,000 in the basic salaries for employees, claiming that it would be “the highest in the history” of the corporation.

The MSRTC workers have been on a strike since 28 October, demanding a merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government, which will give them the status of state government employees and better salaries.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had started a sit-in agitation at Azad Maidan on 10 November to support the MSRTC employees, announced to temporarily call off the sit-in agitation on Thursday. 

BJP MLC Sadabhau Khot and Gopichand Padalkar, who were leading the agitation, made the announcement.

“Today, we are temporarily calling off our agitation at Azad Maidan. All employees should sit together and decide whether to carry out the rest of the agitation. We are with them,” Khot said.

“The state government has taken two steps forward. We have won the first stage of the fight. The decision (merger) will come from the court. We will be with the workers, if they agitate in the second phase as well,” he added. 

According to an MSRTC official, the corporation is compiling information about workers’ attendance from across the state. 

However, preliminary reports have revealed that majority of the employees have not reported to duty as yet, and hence the, operation of buses at all 250 depots in the state was also shut, the official added. 

 

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