BENGALURU: The Bangalore Metro Rail Company Limited Employees’ Union has threatened to go on an indefinite strike from March 22 in support of numerous demands which include recognition of the union. Insisting that all arrangements have been put in place to operate train services, an official communication has stated that firm action would be initiated against those who disrupt operations. Employees led by the union went on a snap strike on July 7 last year disrupting train operations across the entire Phase-1 network for nearly seven hours. Of the 1,200 permanent employees in BMRCL, nearly 900 are affiliated with the Union. In addition, BMRCL has 800 contract employees who are not part of it. To justify its proposed step, the union plans to hold a news conference on Friday.
“Despite two years of registration of the union and repeated requests to the BMRCL management, they refuse to recognise our group. The management sought various documents from the union and still does not give us recognition. It refuses to deal with the office-bearers,” Union VP Suryanarayana Murthy told Express. He also charged that 600 of the 800 contract employees were non-Kannadigas.
The management was harassing office-bearers and active workers of the union, he added.“After eight-nine years of employment in BMRCL, employees are not getting promoted. In comparison, those in Delhi and Jaipur metros get promotions easily as well as many other benefits,” he said. Notice for the strike had already been issued to BMRCL, the Central Labour Commission in New Delhi and Additional labour Commissioners at Yesvantpur and Peenya, he said. “Unless our demands are met, our strike will continue,” he added. A release from BMRCL MD Mahendra Jain has responded to the strike call. “Metro services have been declared as essential services under ESMA and action will be taken if anyone resorts to disrupting them,” he stated.
BMRCL put up a brave front saying all arrangements were in place to operate the services and provide security to passengers.BMRCL had created an emergency back-up force of staff who can manage operations, including running of trains by roping in Assistant Engineers and Assistant Executive Engineers last year. “Genuine grievances are being addressed by the Grievance Redressal machinery of BMRCL. Hence, employees are advised not to resort to strike or disrupt services...if they do so they will be dealt firmly in the larger interest of people,” Jain said.