The indefinite strike by Mumbai's civic transport undertaking is set to continue for the third day, even as lakhs of commuters faced hardship after nearly 32,000 employees of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) kept away from work for the second day of the strike on Wednesday.
The administration cracked the whip, issuing notices to over 2,000 staffers of the BEST to vacate houses provided by the undertaking.
It also held dialogue with union leader Shashank Rao, but it did not yield any positive outcome.
Rao, leader of the BEST Workers' Union that has called the strike, said it would continue on Thursday as the talks were not fruitful.
"There were few rounds of meetings with officials, but no positive result came as the administration did not pay heed to our genuine demands.... We are ready to sit and talk even in midnight," he said.
Despite the Shiv Sena-affiliated union, BEST Kamgar Sena, withdrawing from the protest, only 11 buses plied on the roads on Wednesday, an official said.
Rao lashed out at the BEST Kamgar Sena leaders for their "betrayal".
BEST employees began the indefinite strike on Tuesday over various demands, including higher salaries and merger of the budget of the loss-making undertaking with that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Congress MLA Nitesh Rane and Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have extended support to the agitating workers.
The protest by BEST employees coincided with the two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions to protest against the government's alleged anti-worker policies and labour reforms.
The strike, declared "illegal" by an industrial court here, affected nearly 25-lakh daily commuters on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Central Railway and Western Railway have decided to operate additional suburban trains for the convenience of commuters.
The BEST has a fleet of over 3,200 buses, which criss-cross the metropolis and also operate services in the neighbouring Thane district and Navi Mumbai.
It is the second-biggest mode of transport in Mumbai after local trains, which ferry over 80-lakh passengers every day.