Tamil Nadu: High Court asks bus strikers to resume services

Saul Bowman
January 7, 2018

The unions have also demanded a minimum basic salary of Rs 19,500, whereas the government proposed a salary of Rs 17,700. If the government takes action, the employees must face it. The few buses which plied had a very few passengers while government and private buses operated from Tirunelveli to Thoothukudi and Nagercoil were overflowing with passengers in the morning.

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

"I request the employees and trade unions who are involved in this unnecessary strike to realise the factual situation and get back to work as per the court directive", he said.

The agitating unions have been demanding a 2.57% hike in wages.

Over one lakh employees from various government transport undertakings-including Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Metropolitan Transport Corporation and State Express Transport Corporation-participated in the strike, demanding a 2.57 times increase in wages. "If they fail to do so, as per the law, departmental action will be initiated against them".

On Friday afternoon, Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami called for a meeting to take stock of the situation, after the Opposition, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Left, asked the government to step in and end the strike.

Unions today announced that the strike will continue till their demands are met.

The strike began on Thursday after the talks on wage revision and clearance of pending dues with Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar failed.

Officials said buses were being run by utilising services of workers affiliated to ruling AIADMK-backed union ATP. A large number of people were seen queued up waiting for the private buses at the bus stops.

The government has invited those possessing valid driving licences to approach local bus depots to be used as substitute drivers.

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

Police were posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents. The commuters complained that auto rickshaws and taxis charged exorbitant fares as the public transport system was hit.

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