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Return or face action: TN govt to striking transport staff

07 January 2018

Announcing their decision to continue the strike, LPF general secretary M Shamugham said that they had not got any notice from the High Court on the strike and they would face the case legally.

Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain transport unions, the Madras High Court said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court.

The trade unions had, however, said their agitation would continue till their demands on wage revision were met by the state government.

Drivers and conductors of various state transport corporations are demanding wage hike among other things. The transport workers affiliated to 17 trade unions including DMK affiliated Labour Progressive Front, CITU and AITUC resorted to a flash strike from Thursday evening after the talks with the state government failed leaving thousands of commuters, particularly office-goers and students, stranded across the state. Chief Justice Indira Banerjee had said that workers could not go on such sudden strikes without any prior intimation.

The workers of the transport department have been demanding for a pay scale revision to Rs 30,000.

'Those who don't come to work and cause hardship to the public must face the consequences, ' the court told the drivers.

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General Secretary of DMK-backed LPF, M Shanmugam, said they were not anxious about action from the government since any protest would attract action. The trade unions demand a 2.57 percent hike while the government insisted on 2.44 percent hike.

Officials said buses were being run by utilising services of workers affiliated to ruling AIADMK-backed union ATP.

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. "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.

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.

To give some relief to the passengers few buses including the private ones hired on the contract were operated by the government with police protection to prevent any untoward incidents.

A majority of the people continued to rely on trains, autorickshaws and private buses for their daily commute.

Return or face action: TN govt to striking transport staff