Tamil Nadu transport unions withdraw strike, to resume work from Friday

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

In a huge relief for the people of Tamil Nadu, an indefinite strike called by the workers in state-owned bus services demanding higher wages ended after Madras High Court's intervention. The indefinite strike by 17 trade unions including the CITU and DMK-backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) entered the seventh day leaving the state crippled.

The striking unions want the factor for wage revision to be fixed at 2.57 times, even as the government is insisting on 2.44 times.

"In the interest of children, students, patients, elders, commuters and larger section of the society, the issue has been referred to the arbitrator to adjudicate the wage dispute and the effective date of such revision of wage", a special bench headed by Justice S Manikumar said.

The state government assured transporters to pay all arrears.

Given the circumstances of the pay hike for MLAs' and the timing, opposition leader M.K. Stalin criticized the decision saying in part, "People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike, demanding a salary hike".

At some places, the government has pressed into service temporary drivers to build pressure on the striking employees and also rid the public of the inconvenience caused due to the strike.

"So far over 10 rounds of talks have been held between the trade union leaders and government representatives", an official said.

"The Tamil Nadu government continues to be insensitive towards the workers' demands".

The Chief Minister stated that numerous demands made by the workers have been met and they should end their strike. He had accused the unions spearheading the strike of misleading the employees and said the issue should not be politicised.

Joined by their family members, including children, workers staged demonstrations outside divisional offices of state-owned transport corporations across the state. The announcement regarding the salary hike was made by chief minister Edappadi K Palanaswami a year ago and today he tabled the bill regarding the same in Tamil Nadu Assembly.