BENGALURU: The BMRCL Employees Union has deferred their proposed indefinite strike planned from March 22 by a month, seeking to fulfill their demands. The Metro management and the employees union have agreed to resolve the dispute through bilateral talks.The BMRCL’s counsel has named three of its top officials — General Manager (Law) MS Balakrishna, a retired district judge, consultant Gurudas Bhat (Industrial Relations) and Executive Director (Finance) Deepa Kotnis — to participate in the talks.
Similarly, the counsel of the BMRCL Employees Union named its General Secretary TR Uday, vice president S Manjunath, Organising Secretary Rakesh Joseph and Executive Committee Member S Sagar, as representatives for the talks with BMRCL representatives. The counsel of both the parties have mutually given consent to these representatives participating in the conciliation three days in a week, starting March 26, and concluding in a month. Meanwhile, additional advocate general AS Ponnanna, submitted that the government is happy if both BMRCL and its union agreed to resolve the dispute amicably. Otherwise, about 4 lakh commuters would be put to hardship if the strike was launched as planned, he said.
Justice B Sreenivase Gowda said that representatives of the BMRCL Employees Union should be permitted to participate in bilateral talks on duty by the management. It is also open for both the parties to take legal assistance, if necessary, the judge said.The court was hearing arguments on the interlocutory application filed by BMRCL, seeking to vacate the stay granted on Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) invoked on the employees by the management.
D Leelakrishna, the counsel of employees union, argued that the BMRCL never responded, though the union was interested in reconciliation. Already, two meetings were held and another meeting scheduled for Wednesday, he added. In reply, the judge observed that both the parties gave the court a list of authorised persons to participate in the talks. Meanwhile, the union’s counsel submitted that if BMRCL clarifies its stand that it would recognise the employees union, the strike would be called off immediately. In reply, the counsel of BMRCL submitted that holding talks with union’s representatives was itself recognition.
Glad that public will not be inconvenienced: Metro MD
Bengaluru: Top Metro officials were confident that all issues would be resolved amicably within the time period given by the High Court. Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) Mahendra Jain said, “We are glad that the strike is put off and people will not have to face any difficulties, at least for now.” The honourable court had asked BMRCL to hold bilateral talks with the employees, the MD said. “We have always said that we are ready.
I am hopeful that the talks will be held in a cordial atmosphere and both sides will understand each other’s aspirations as well as limitations and constraints to arrive at amicable resolution of the matter, once and for all.”Chief Public Relations Officer U A Vasanth Rao said, “The court has given a good opportunity to amicably settle the issue between the management and our employees.”
How Did The Metro Employees Union Agree To Deferment?
The emergency measures put in place by BMRCL to run train operations without disruption and total support offered by the Home, Police and other government departments made the Bangalore Metro Rail Employees Union realise that Metro would function without them, said a source. In addition to that, despite numerous attempts to mobilise public support both through offline and online measures, there was not much sympathy for the move to disrupt train operations, he pointed out.
“If the strike had continued, it would only be the BMRCL management which would have garnered public praise for going all out to ensure the services functioned somehow,” he said. BMREU office bearers didn’t respond to repeated calls in this connection.