Transport workers in TN reject Madras HC direction to call off strike

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Chennai: The indefinite strike by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation employees since Thursday night throws normal life off balance as commuters were left to depend on private buses and vehicles which chose to go for the kill by jacking up fares, particularly inter-state buses. Workers are demanding wage hike among other things.

Stating that the High Court order to call off the strike goes against natural justice, the unions blamed the government for the inconvenience caused to the commuters. "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.

Tamil Nadu MLA KR Rajakrishnan on Saturday drove a bus and dropped off 70 commuters at their destinations after he saw their plight when he visited a bus terminus to assess the impact of the state transport strike, The News Minute reported.

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.

"Appeal to employees to come back for duty, honorable court has also asked them to come back".

Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabaskar accused "some unions" of trying to flare up the strike for their own agenda even as 32 trade unions signed the wage agreement. The government had also issued an ultimatum, asking workers to return to work, else it will not hesitate to take action as per law.

The striking unions want the "factor" for wage revision to be fixed at 2.57 times while the state government insisted it be 2.44. The court posted the next hearing for Monday.

DMK, the main opposition party in the state Assembly, had urged the government to hold talks with trade unions and bring an end to the impasse. "I was allowed to drive the bus by authorities after officials inspected my driving skills". The auto fare is so high, I can not afford it. "We demanded the transport workers wages to be raised on par with government employees but they did not agree".

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