8 day strike by Tamil Nadu transport workers 'temporarily' called off

In a huge relief to the public especially ahead of the harvest festival ‘Pongal’ falling on January 14 buses were seen plying normally on roads since Friday morning

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With only a few days left for the Pongal festival, anxiety had gripped the general public with no sign of the strike ending till Thursday even after a Rs.750 crore package announced by the government in a bid to end the work stoppage.

Chennai: The eight-day long strike by transport workers demanding pay hike was finally called off after the Madras High Court intervened.

On Thursday night, A. Soundararajan of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) called off the strike and announced that Tamil Nadu transporters would resume duties from Friday morning.

The unions want a 2.57 times hike, but the government, after 23 rounds of talks, has agreed for a 2.44 times raise. "This will be provided before Pongal festival", he said.

A bench of the High Court while hearing a PIL though told the state government that it must take earnest steps to address the genuine grievances of the employees and pay forthwith to them the statutory dues.

"The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state", he added. The bench made a proposal that the government would implement the 2.44% wage hike immediately, and that transport workers should resume work immediately.

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"The Tamil Nadu government continues to be insensitive towards the workers' demands".

Apart from wages, the workers also cited other demands, such as pending dues for serving and retired personnel.

Those involved from the union who are participating in the strike include drivers, conductors and technical staff.

Tamil Nadu has over 22,000 buses with a workforce of about 143,000 employees.

TNSTC employees have been fighting for over a year for wage revision and clearance of arrears amounting to Rs7,543 crore, including retirement benefits and provident fund.

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