Tamil Nadu Transport Minister appeals to bus employees

07 January, 2018, 01:11 | Author: Cassandra Gardner
  • Office-goers stranded at a bus terminus in Chennai on Friday as employees of Tamil Nadu state transport corporations went on strike from Thursday night - Bijoy Ghosh

Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain transport unions, the Madras High Court on Friday said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court.

Vijayabhaskar appealed to striking employees to return to work. Unions are demanding 2.57% hike in wages but State Transport Minister M.R Vijayabhaskar said the government could only agree to 2.44% increase.

Sounderrajan, who held discussions with other trade unions, including the DMK-backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) today, urged the government to hold talks to settle the issue amicably, even as he expressed regret over difficulties caused to commuters following the strike.

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

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The employees affiliated to the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)-backed union will not participate in the strike.

High court first bench headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee said workers could not resort to such flash strikes without any prior intimation, causing trouble to public. If the government takes action, the employees must face it.

The striking unions want the "factor" for wage revision to be fixed at 2.57 times while government insisted it be 2.44.

Transport union leaders said they will challenge the court order, which they said is one-sided as they were not heard.

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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. 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.

The strike started on Thursday night after a meeting between union representatives and State transport minister MR Vijaybhaskar remained inconclusive.

A large number of people were seen queued up waiting for the private buses at the different bus stops. Besides, private buses were also roped in to meet the situation at several places. Across the state, 90% of the state and corporation run buses went off the roads due to which daily passengers and long distance travellers stranded and felt helpless.

In the capital city, Chennai, a stone pelting incident has occurred at a bus depot.

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