Bengaluru metro staff defer strike by month

Bengaluru: About 900 employees of the state-run Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) on Tuesday agreed to defer their proposed strike on Thursday by a month on their demands.

“We have agreed to defer the strike to mid-April to enable the management consider our demands, including recognition to our union and service issues,” metro union leader Suryanarayana Murthy told reporters here.

The unrecognised union of the metro employees gave an undertaking on deferring the strike after the company assured the Karnataka High Court of its willingness to hold talks with them on their demands.

The court is hearing the company’s petition to vacate the stay it granted in July last year on invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the employees resorting to strike and disrupting its service to the public.

The decade-old company operates services on the 42km east-west and north-south corridors of the city for 18 hours daily, ferrying about three lakh people.

“We have agreed to the reconciliation meetings with the management from March 26 thrice in a week for a month and decided withhold the strike call,” asserted Murthy.

The state government had invoked ESMA after a section of the staff resorted to a flash strike on July 8 last year disrupting the service and causing harrowing time to thousands of commuters on a working day.

“As the court has not vacated its stay on imposing ESMA on us, we reserve the right to go on strike next month if our demands are not met by the company,” reiterated Murthy.

The court has directed the management hold talks with the union leaders and resolve the issues within a month and ensure the metro service is continued without disruption.