In a relief for 3.5 lakh Bengaluru metro users, Karnataka High Court on Monday deferred the strike called by the employees union of the Namma Metro at least by 10 days and asked the state government to negotiate with the employees.
The employees had threatened to go on strike immediately if their demands were not met.
The High Court also instructed BMRCL not to take coercive action against protesting employees.
This after the union and the metro authorities has failed to reach a middle ground after three months of court-mandated dialogues and four court hearings. Even a meeting at the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) held in the previous week failed to break the ice.
BMRCL Managing Director and Additional Chief Secretary Mahendra Jain (urban Development) told TNM that the court observation mandates a talk between the employees and the government at the level of chairmanship of the Chief Secretary.
â€śTalks are failing because some of their demands, financial or otherwise, are unreasonable according to us. As far as financial demands go, we cannot make a decision as the BMRCL is a loss-making body. The state government has to make a decision on that as per MoU,â€ť he said.
â€śWe have asked them to withdraw strike notice, as these are not best circumstances to hold talks. Even then, we have agreed to some of the non-financial demands, there are some which we have partially agreed to,â€ť he added.
Metro union representative were unreachable for a comment.
This was the fourth hearing between the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) and Bangalore Metro Rail Employees Union (BMREU), the HC regarding the issue of the salary paid to the employees and other work conditions.
TNM has earlier reported how the union and the employees were threatened with coercive action if they participated in the agitation.
â€śAs you all know, the salary paid to the BMRCL Employees is better compared to the salaries of the State Government and Private Sector employees. Despite all this, it is unfortunate to go for the strike with the help of external forces. You have to consider the fact that by participating in the agitation, there will be effect on you and your beloved family members,â€ť an extract of a letter sent by BMRCL to its employees read.
Members of the union alleged that in order to intimidate the protesters, draft memorandums and suspension orders were circulated hinting at strict legal action against those who proceed with the protest.
As a contingency measure, the BMRCL had also arranged staff from Kochi metro to remain on standby to oversee operations in case a strike is eventually held by 900 odd employees.
It was in March that the first call for strike was made and since then BMRCL had trained staff from other departments to run operations.