Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

Tamil Nadu bus strike: Nobody missed the bus in Vellore

Bus fleet Transport workers in TN reject Madras HC direction to call off strike
Isabel Fisher | 07 January, 2018, 01:12

Announcing their decision to continue the strike, LPF general secretary M Shamugham said that they had not got any notice from the High Court on the strike and they would face the case legally. 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. "This wage agreement had the highest revision proposed, where the minimum was Rs 2,684 while the highest was Rs 11,361", the Minister said. The transport workers affiliated to 17 trade unions including DMK affiliated Labour Progressive Front, CITU and AITUC resorted to a flash strike from Thursday evening after the talks with the state government failed leaving thousands of commuters, particularly office-goers and students, stranded across the state.

Yesterday, the Madras High Court had issued an interim order restraining the employees from striking work.

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

"We are not going to withdraw the strike till our problems end", he told reporters in Chennai after a consultative meeting with other trade unions.

"The government's "2.44% factor" (salary hike) will result in an additional expense of Rs 81 crore per month on transport corporations even as a special increment was being given to those who had joined work between 2013 and 2016".

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.


DMK working president MK Stalin urged chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami to end the imbroglio by holding talks with the unions and giving them a "good Pongal gift".

Buses were being operated in some parts of the state with temporary drivers and conductors. In some towns, strikers got into the scuffle with operational buses. 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.

Meanwhile, the Southern Railway, in an official release, said, "It is made a decision to operate weekday services instead of weekend reduced services in Chennai Beach-Tambaram and MRTS suburban sector to accommodate extra rush in view of the strike". Besides, private buses were also roped in to meet the situation at several places.

Following the strike, commuters alleged over-charging by autos and private buses even as scores opted for suburban rail services in Chennai.

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

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