Report by KEC correspondent
The workers of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC, popularly known as the ST) have been militantly and steadfastly fighting from November 2021 for their primary demand for merger with the State Government. Teams of KEC workers met and expressed solidarity with the workers who have been sitting in various depots of Bhiwandi, Thane, and Pune and in Azad Maidan, Mumbai. They were welcomed enthusiastically and asked to speak on behalf of their organisation. Members of KEC addressed the workers and hailed their unity and unwavering spirit. Slogans like, “ST workers unity Zindabad” and “ST workers strike Zindabad” were echoed by everyone present at the site with great energy! The protesting workers welcomed AIFAP with claps and agreed that unity of workers across sectors and consumers to oppose privatisation in any form is the need of the hour! They were very happy with the support statement brought out by AIFAP as well as with the booklet addressed to consumers and eagerly distributed both among their comrades.
With great anguish they talked about the callous attitude of the government towards the 40 ST workers who committed suicides in the past 1 year due to very low and irregular salaries. They also spoke about how the government has been trying various ways to break their unity. For example, about 40 workers were terminated on 27th October as they had not returned for duty. But nothing has shaken the unity of the striking workers and they continue to fight for their just demands. Though the state government tried to get the workers back to work by promising some wage increases, they have declared that they shall not return to work till their demand for merger with the state government is met.