Return or face action: TN govt to striking transport staff

07 January, 2018, 01:16 | Author: Lynne Higgins
  • Tamil Nadu Several transport corporations go on sudden strike after talks with government fail

Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar appealed to the unions to return to work.

An indefinite strike by transport workers unions entered third day today leaving thousands of passengers stranded across state.

In a statement to media on Friday, Vijaybhaskar said 13th wage revision for transport employees was held on January 4.

The unions, including DMK-affiliated LPF and CITU, rejected the state government's ultimatum to return to work or face "consequences", issued following the court directive.

As the strike entered the second day on Friday crippling operation of the eight transport corporation running about 21,000 buses, the first bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee ordered the workers to resume work or face the effect including termination and contempt of court.

The workers of the transport department have been demanding for a pay scale revision to Rs 30,000.

Hours after the Madras High Court ordered them to call of the strike, the transport corporation unions on Friday said their agitation would continue till their demands on wage revision were met by the Tamil Nadu government. The High Court said that the government could take action against those who have stopped work.

He also said that instances of striking employees "intimidating" others who wanted to work had been reported.

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CITU leader A Soundarrajan said he felt the court had not heard their side and that the unions will put forth their views on Monday before the bench.

Many politicians and celebrities including DMK working president M K Stalin, actors Kamal Haasan and Vishal have raised their voice in support of the transport workers and asked the government to solve the issue in a democratic manner.

Sounderrajan, who participated in talks with government on Thursday, on Friday claimed that "not even 10 percent" of buses were being operated across the state. They called the strike on Thursday after they said talks with Vijayabhaskar on revising their salary and pending dues and arrears amounting to almost Rs 7,000 crore did not result in any breakthrough.

Government sources said efforts were on to ply buses. The trade unions, however, stood their ground, turning defensive while the government jumped got into firefighting mode, roping in temporary drivers and conductors to tide over the crisis.

Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop.

A majority of the people continued to rely on trains, autorickshaws and private buses for their daily commute.

Police were posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.

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