Tamil Nadu bus strike enters Day 3, no respite for passengers

Passengers stranded at Mattuthavani bus stands following a flash strike by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation employees in Madurai on Friday. PTI

"I request the employees and trade unions who are involved in this unnecessary strike to realise the factual situation and get back to work as per the court directive", he said. "Our talks for wage revision are over", he said.

Ten trade unions had announced launching the indefinite strike yesterday after their talks with the government over a key demand on a "factor" determining wage structure failed.

Ex-transport min Senthil Balaji extended his support to the strike The DMK, Left parties and other opposition leaders as well as actor Kamal Haasan urged the government to bring the strike to an end by holding talks with trade unions.

As the strike entered the second day on Friday crippling operation of the eight transport corporation running about 21,000 buses, the first bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee ordered the workers to resume work or face the effect including termination and contempt of court.

Claiming that they had not received the court order, the unions, which have rejected the wage increase proposed by the government, said they would present their case properly before the court on Monday. Transport minister M R Vijayabhaskar said the government agreed to enhance the wage by 2.44%.

Later, the government also issued an ultimatum, asking the workers to return to work, else it will not hesitate to take action as per law. "Recourse to lighting strikes or flash strikes without notice leads to the consequences of denying the citizens of their right to free movement and is clearly illegal and against the public interest", the judge said while passing interim orders on a PIL filed in this regard.

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The Madras High Court on Friday directed the striking unions to withdraw the strike immediately or face action. So we demanded at least to provide a hike of 2.57 times on par with other government departments.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader A. Soundarrajan said they were ready for talks and regretted that people will suffer.

When Express tried to find out what was the reason behind people not thronging bus stands, as is the norm, it came to light that after the strike began on Thursday evening most people chose to stay home on Friday.

Around 1.8 crore passengers avail the bus services across the state, reports said.

Police have been posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents. Several daily commuters are stranded on the bus stand in Chennai due to the strike.

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