High Court of Madras directs striking Transport to resume work from today

Tamil Nadu stranded as bus strike enters day 7

Bus services returned to normal in Tamil Nadu Friday after transport workers withdrew their eight- day old strike over wage related issues.

Earlier, when the matter came up in the High Court, it appointed a retired judge E Padmanabhan as arbitrator to settle the wage dispute.

Around 17 trade unions had gone on an indefinite strike after rejecting the state government's proposal to hike the wages of the transport workers by 2.44 times arguing that their salaries should be equivalent to what drivers in other state government corporations are getting.

"Protests would continue in front of Tamil Nadu Labour Welfare Board offices across the state of Tamil Nadu", said Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader A. Soundarrajan. The protest started last week when state transport drivers stopped driving public buses demanding wage hike by the state government.

Tamil Nadu stranded as bus strike enters day 7

"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". But, the unions maintained that the strike was not only legal but also justified.

A bench of the High Court while hearing a PIL though told the state government that it must take earnest steps to address the genuine grievances of the employees and pay forthwith to them the statutory dues. Also, the salary hike for MLAs is needless when government has no money to pay transport workers. "This will be provided before Pongal festival", he said.

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

Approaching the busy Pongal festive period, the number of people travelling by bus increases significantly. The bill proposing a pay hike looks bad given the circumstances and seems ill advised.

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