The Delhi High Court on Friday came down heavily on the Delhi Metro employees for their decision to go on strike starting today (30 June) over their demands relating to pay hike and promotions.
Hearing a petition filed by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Justice Vipin Sanghi restrained the Metro staff from going on strike till further notice. “Considering the fact that the petitioner (DMRC) is running a public utility service that caters to 25 lakh citizens of Delhi on a daily basis, who come largely from middle income group… I am inclined to grant ad-interim relief as sought,” he was quoted by PTI.
Justice Sanghi, who was assigned the case by the acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice Gita Mittal, observed that since conciliation proceedings were still in progress ‘the respondents (DMRC staff) are restrained from going on strike on June 30 till further orders in the matter.’
Justice Sanghi, in his five-page order also concluded, “… Accordingly, the respondents (employees) are restrained from going on strike on June 30 or till further orders in the matter.”
This followed a warning by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had threatened to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), if required, to stop the strike.
“Whereas all genuine demands of Metro employees should be met, the strike will cause inconvenience to lakhs of people. The strike should not take place. Whereas government will impose ESMA as a last resort, I urge the employees to not resort to strike,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.
Whereas all genuine demands of Metro employees shud be met, strike wud cause inconvenience to lakhs of people. Strike shud not take place. Whereas govt imposing ESMA as last resort, I wud urge employees to not resort to strike. https://t.co/kbWtkUZvCL
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 29, 2018
His deputy, Manish Sisodia, too wrote, “Have recieved instructions from Hon CM @ArvindKejriwal that all the genuine demands of the Metro employees should be met to keep them happy for smooth functioning of Delhi Metro. Also if needed ESMA be imposed to prevent Metro strike.”
The DMRC is engaged in a dispute with its non-executive employees over pay scales and arrears. The 9,000 such employees had warned of a strike from Saturday if their demands were not met, reported news agency IANS.
This workforce consists of station controllers, drivers, technicians, and other maintenance staff and facilitates day-to-day operations of the Metro.