Saturday, 20 January, 2018

8 day strike by Tamil Nadu transport workers 'temporarily' called off

Striking bus workers protest in Chennai Striking bus workers protest in Chennai
Bennie Garza | 13 January, 2018, 01:29

Workers of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) joined a common platform of 17 trade unions, including those affiliated to the DMK and Left parties, to launch the strike on January 4 after their talks with the Government for wage revision failed.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, in the state assembly on Tuesday, urged workers to accept the government's offer and withdraw the strike. The employees want a minimum basic pay of Rs. 19,500 and a wage hike of 2.57% once in three years.

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

"I am happy to announce that the Amma (late chief minister J Jayalalithaa) government will provide Rs 750 crore towards pending (dues) for those who retired up to November 30, 2017".

M Shanmugam, General Secretary of DMK backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) said the 2.44 factor is only "an interim arrangement", and said the strike was only being "suspended" and "postponed". Tamil Nadu State Transport minister MR Vijayabaskar said these unions were spreading false information about the government's efforts. "We need to take care of our families". But, the unions maintained that the strike was not only legal but also justified.

The move came after the Madras High Court appointed an arbitrator to settle the workers' wage dispute with the government. The letter was written in part due to IT employees being beneficiaries of public transport.

"Therefore, with most of the demands of the transport corporation staff being accepted, the workers should immediately withdraw their strike in the interest of the people and return to work", he appealed, reported PTI. "This will be provided before Pongal festival", he said.

Approaching the busy Pongal festive period, the number of people travelling by bus increases significantly.

"The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state", he added.

There are almost 1.4 lakh workers in the TN's transport department who handle around 22,500 buses.

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