Scores of commuters were left stranded in Koyambedu bus terminal of Chennai as an indefinite strike by the transport workers' unions in Tamil Nadu continued for the third day. "We have chose to continue the strike and approach the Supreme Court as early as possible", said CITU chief A Soundarajajan, who held a meeting with union leaders after the court directive.
At a press conference here on Friday, the trade union leaders said the State government, while doubling the salaries to elected representatives, government officials and judges, was not willing to accept their "demands" of pay hike, repayment of ₹7,000 crore owed to the workers, including retired employees. Even though trade unions affiliated to the ruling party did not strike work, most of the buses were parked in all the nine depots in the district.
"There will be an interim order restraining the transport workers, specially, the drivers and conductors, from taking recourse to strike", the court said.
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High court first bench headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee said workers could not resort to such flash strikes without any prior intimation, causing trouble to public. Despite financial constraints of transport corporations a wage revision providing for 2.44 times increase in basic pay and once in three years revision was signed on Thursday.
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. Only office goers and others who had important work within the city actually stepped out.
The Madras High Court on Friday directed the striking unions to withdraw the strike immediately or face action. The trade unions demand a 2.57 percent hike while the government insisted on 2.44 percent hike.
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Sounderrajan, who participated in talks with government on Thursday, on Friday claimed that "not even 10 percent" of buses were being operated across the state. "This wage agreement had the highest revision proposed, where the minimum was Rs 2,684 while the highest was Rs 11,361", the Minister said. The trade unions called for the strike after several rounds of talks with transport minister M.R.Vijayabhaskar failed to yield result.
However, reports received here said a large number of vehicles were off the road in different parts of the state like Chennai, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Madurai.
Police were posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.
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