TN transport workers withdraw 8-day-old strike

Tamil Nadu transport unions say they are ready to accept government’s offer of 2.44-times wage hike

Th strike intensified with family members of employees of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) joining the demonstrations.

The continuing bus strike, in a state where state-run buses ferry hundreds of thousands daily, had forced more and more people to take to local trains, making them over-crowded.

Tamil Nadu has over 22,000 buses with a workforce of about 143,000 employees. The statement outlined the demand of the state government to among others "fullfill all the demands of Tamil Nadu state transport workers".

The Chief Minister recalled that Thyagi Sankaralinganar had made an appeal to the then Congress government for renaming Madras State as Tamil Nadu in 1956.

The Madras High Court appointing an arbitrator today to settle their wage dispute with the government "shows there is something more than the 2.44 factor", he said, indicating at their demand for a 2.57 time revision. "This will be provided before Pongal festival", he said.

Lauding the workers for their unity, he said, "This strike is being suspended".

The bench noted that government agreed to three of five demands by the unions, subject to employees resuming work from this evening.

Even as the High court left it to trade unions on the decision to ply buses during the Pongal period, both sides are refusing to budge in their negotiations. But, the unions maintained that the strike was not only legal but also justified.

There are almost 1.4 lakh workers in the TN's transport department who handle around 22,500 buses. "You must come forward to serve people during the Pongal season".

While Chief Minister reiterated the government's willingness to increase wages by 2.44 times, the trade unions have refused to concede and have lambasted the government for the MLA salary hike bill.

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