TN Bus Strike Enters Day 4; Temporary Drivers And Conductors Deployed

Tamil Nadu bus strike

An indefinite strike by transport workers unions entered third day today leaving thousands of passengers stranded across state.

"There will be an interim order restraining the transport workers, specially, the drivers and conductors, from taking recourse to strike", the court said. If the government takes action, the employees must face it.

"I appeal to employees to come back for duty, honorable court has also asked them to come back", Vijayabhaskar said addressing media at Karur. "The authorities allocated a bus to me and I drove on more than eight routes. 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.

While the unions were demanding an increase in wages by 2.57 times, the government reportedly wanted to settle down their demands by raising it to 2.41 times. 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. "We will challenge the order once we get a copy of it", said A Soundararajan, president Tamil Nadu State Transport Employees Federation and CITU leader.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami chaired a meeting of ministers and senior officials to take stock of the situation, even as opposition parties including the DMK and the Left, besides actor Kamal Haasan, urged the government to end the stalemate by holding talks with trade unions.

Further, seven unions joined the strike on Friday, taking the number to 17, he told reporters.

The strike began on Thursday after the talks on wage revision and clearance of pending dues with Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar failed. He said that buses will be operated with the help of the workers in the Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai, a trade union affiliated to the AIADMK. Besides, private buses were also roped in to meet the situation at several places. When I went for an inspection I saw people waiting for a bus to go to Bhavani.

Police have been posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.

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

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