Nearly 40,000 civic employees, who went on strike last month, Wednesday got a festival gift from the Bombay High Court which asked the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to pay them Diwali bonus of Rs.7,500 by Nov 1.
The relief comes with a rider that if the MCGM wins its case in court, it would be allowed to deduct the bonus amount from the employees’ salaries.
The decision in favour of the workers affiliated to the Municipal Mazdoor Union (MMU) was given by the division bench of Justice S.J. Kathawala and Justice A.M. Thipsay.
The judges were hearing an appeal filed by the union challenging a single judge court’s order, upholding MCGM’s decision to deny bonus to the employees who struck work last month.
“Let them celebrate the (Diwali) festival and do not make it an ego issue. You can release the amount by Nov 1. If the single judge bench rules in your favour, you can deduct it from the employees’ salaries,” the judges said.
They also directed the single judge to conclude the matter by Nov 9 and pass the order by Nov 14.
Last fortnight, the MCGM issued a circular citing that those employees who went on an MMU-supported strike Sep 19-20 would not be eligible for Diwali bonus this year.
Terming the civic agency’s decision vindictive, the MMU challenged the circular before the industrial court, which directed the MCGM to pay the bonus to all employees.
The MCGM challenged the industrial court’s order before the high court’s single judge who upheld its decision, following which the MMU approached the two-judge bench.
The MMU had gone on a two-day strike last month demanding a salary hike.