Tamil Nadu Transport Minister appeals to bus employees

Desiree Steele
January 7, 2018

Chennai: The indefinite strike by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation employees since Thursday night throws normal life off balance as commuters were left to depend on private buses and vehicles which chose to go for the kill by jacking up fares, particularly inter-state buses.

The striking unions, immediately grabbed the opportunity to take a pot shot at the government's move. 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.

Though the government has said that 85 per cent of the buses were operated in the State, the transport unions who called for the strike said that not even 10 per cent buses were plying.

Shanmugam said it has been decided that various central trade unions such as CITU and AITUC will stage state-wide protests on January 8 in support of the striking transport workers.

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. "We demanded the transport workers wages to be raised on par with government employees but they did not agree".

Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain unions, it said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court. He said the government had proposed a "very good" wage revision agreement despite financial problems.

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

The agitating trade unions, however, remained firm on their demands relating to a wage-fixation mechanism.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader A. Soundarrajan said they were ready for talks and regretted that people will suffer.

Due to the ongoing strike, the bus services crippled totally in large parts of the state on Friday. 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.

Around 1.8 crore passengers avail the bus services across the state, reports said.

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

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

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