Tamil Nadu stranded as bus strike enters day 7

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

Workers of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC), owing allegiance to 17 trade unions, including those affiliated to the DMK and Left parties, had launched the strike on January 4 following failure of talks with the government on wage revision. But, the standoff between the government and the workers remained unresolved with trade unions refusing to withdraw their strike unless the settlement signed by the government with "minority unions" accepting 2.44% wage hike is kept in abeyance.

Given the circumstances of the pay hike for MLAs' and the timing, opposition leader M.K. Stalin criticized the decision saying in part, "People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike, demanding a salary hike". The hike we've offered alone will cost an additional Rs. 1,000 crore a year.

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

The chief minister announced this during the last assembly session in July.

"The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state", he added.

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".

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Tamil Nadu has over 22,000 buses with a workforce of about 143,000 employees.

Chennai: The bus strike by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corp. "We need to take care of our families".

Describing the stir as being for the sake of the workers as also for the common people of the state, the unions have said they will intensify the stir. The President of the Employee's Union Periasamy blames the government for not paying attention to the continuing problems of the staff.

On Monday, the Madras high court directed the state government not to terminate any of the striking employees without its permission.

The Court also appointed Justice Padmanabhan (retired) to iron out the issues between the strikers and the management (Transport Department of the State Govt.). "This will be provided before Pongal festival", he said.

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