Tamil Nadu: Govt appeals transport employees to come back for work

Tamil Nadu bus strike

"I appeal to employees to come back for duty, honorable court has also asked them to come back", Vijayabhaskar said addressing media at Karur.

Hours later, state Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar issued the ultimatum to the employees to resume work or face action and reiterated that the present wage agreement was "unprecedented" in many aspects.

After the flash strike by the government transport employees began late on Thursday, a majority of commuters from the Fort City gave the buses a miss on Friday. "The 2.57 factor (a wage determination technique) is our demand and talks should be held for that", he said.

Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain unions, it said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court. The striking unions refused to end the strike unless their demands are meet for better salaries and pledged to appeal against the order.

Soundararajan said that the workers resorted to strike as the government went ahead with signing wage agreement without talks concluding.

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The Madras High Court on Friday directed the striking unions to withdraw the strike immediately or face action.

Transport union leaders said they will challenge the court order, which they said is one-sided as they were not heard.

DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly M K Stalin spoke to Chief Minister K Palaniswami over the phone and urged the government to hold talks with the trade unions to end the stalemate.

Due to the ongoing strike, the bus services crippled totally in large parts of the state on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Southern Railway, in an official release, said, "It is chose to operate weekday services instead of weekend reduced services in Chennai Beach-Tambaram and MRTS suburban sector to accommodate extra rush in view of the strike".

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The workers of the transport department have been demanding for a pay scale revision to Rs 30,000.

The government has invited those possessing valid driving licences to approach local bus depots to be used as substitute drivers. The government just about managed to operate bus services with a skeletal fleet that AIADMK-affiliated unions were left to run.

Following the strike, commuters alleged over-charging by autos and private buses even as scores opted for suburban rail services in Chennai.

Police have been posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.

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