Bus services return to normal in TN

Tamil Nadu transport unions withdraw strike to resume work from Friday

In a huge relief for the people of Tamil Nadu, an indefinite strike called by the workers in state-owned bus services demanding higher wages ended after Madras High Court's intervention.

Tamil Nadu has over 22,000 buses with a workforce of about 143,000 employees and over 10 rounds of talks have been held between the trade unions and government representatives, including transport minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar.

As per the reports received, the transport workers are demanding a 2.57 times raise in their wages as compared to the salaries of the drivers. "This will be provided before Pongal festival", he said. The President of the Employee's Union Periasamy blames the government for not paying attention to the continuing problems of the staff.

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The Tamil Nadu government had hired temporary drivers to run buses over the last eight days.

"The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state", he added.

While Chief Minister reiterated the government's willingness to increase wages by 2.44 times, the trade unions have refused to concede and have lambasted the government for the MLA salary hike bill.

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The AAP and CPI (M) showed their support for the Tamil Nadu transport workers.

Both the LPF and CITU categorically informed a special bench of the Madras HC headed by Justice S Manikumar on Wednesday that there was no scope to withdraw the strike unless the government agreed to suspend the settlement that was signed and resumed negotiations. But, the unions maintained that the strike was not only legal but also justified.

TNSTC employees have been fighting for over a year for wage revision and clearance of arrears amounting to Rs7,543 crore, including retirement benefits and provident fund.

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