TN Bus strike: Transport minister appeals employees to join duty

The buses stand still at Koyambedu Mofussil Bus terminus following the flash strike by the Transport Employees

Chennai: Bus services across Tamil Nadu will be hit on Friday, as the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corp. goes on an indefinite strike, demanding a revision in wages.

"The alternative measures that are being taken by the government will only worsen the problem. I thought it was my duty to work for the people", said Mr Rajakrishnan, who is a first-time MLA from Andhiyur.

Transport workers are demanding salaries on par with drivers in other State government corporations.

Sounderrajan, who participated in talks with government on Thursday, on Friday claimed that "not even 10 percent" of buses were being operated across the state. He said, "Thirty employees refused to accept the agreement". 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.

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. The unions want a 2.57 per cent hike but the government is willing to increase salaries by 2.44 per cent.

"Why are you not taking action against them", the minister was seen asking haughtily to policemen.

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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".

Further, seven unions joined the strike today, taking the number to 17, he told reporters here.

With the majority of the workers going on strike, the transport corporations could operate only skeleton bus services with the helps drivers affiliated with the ruling AIADMK's union and private drivers for the operation.

In Thoothukudi district, more than 75% buses were off the road, much to the discomfort of rural people who had to rely on private buses.

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

The striking unions wanted the "factor" for revision to be fixed at 2.57 while the government insisted it be 2.44. Auto drivers were also reported to have increased the fare to three times the normal charges.

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