Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Bus strike hits 50 lakh commuters

Tamil Nadu Several transport corporations go on sudden strike after talks with government fail Bus strike hits 50 lakh commuters
Judith Alexander | 07 January, 2018, 01:15

Unions today announced that the strike will continue till their demands are met. The government is using ruling party members (drivers) to run the buses.

Arguing on behalf of the state government, counsel Vijay Narayan said that a wage agreement had been signed with the workers.

"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.

"If (the transport staff) continue with the protest and cause trouble to people, the government will not hesitate to take action as per law against them", he added.

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

The strike began on Friday after the failed talks between the union and state transport authorities.

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Labour Progressive Federation (DMK backed) general secretary M Shanmugam said that the government may be able to operate the buses with the help of temporary drivers, but this will not bring a permanent solution.

Similarly, very minimum number of buses were operated from the Chrompet and Alandur depots. "The government should understand the plight of the citizens and find a solution to the problem at the earliest", she said. The court observed that Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) workers could not resort to such flash strikes without any prior intimation, causing trouble to the public.

Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop. The trade unions demand a 2.57 percent hike while the government insisted on 2.44 percent hike.

The state's AIADMK government hired temporary drivers and roped in private bus service operators. On the other hand, former transport minister Senthil Balaji, a supporter of T T V Dhinakaran, came out in support of the striking unions and faulted the government for the strike. Chennai accounts for a large share of this with 3,500 buses in the city.

Tamil Nadu Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar on 6 January appealed to striking bus employees to return to work. Senior police officials also took part in the meeting. The government has also advertised posts of temporary drivers.

DMK working president MK Stalin urged chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami to end the imbroglio by holding talks with the unions and giving them a "good Pongal gift".

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