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Return or face action: TN govt to striking transport staff

07 January 2018

Claiming that they had not received the court order, the unions, which have rejected the wage increase proposed by the government, said they would present their case properly before the court on Monday.

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.

"We are not going to withdraw the strike till our problems end", he told reporters in Chennai after a consultative meeting with other trade unions. Chief Justice Indira Banerjee had said that workers could not go on such sudden strikes without any prior intimation.

After the Madras High Court order on Friday, the state government asked them to return to work or face consequences.

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The bench said it was the duty of the state to ensure and protect rights of its citizens during such circumstances. The court intervened in the matter after a journalist filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the unions strike.

Meanwhile, Vijaybhaskar today appealed to striking workers to return to work. "Those who don't come to work and cause hardship to the public must face the consequences, whoever they may be", the court said.

The striking unions want the "factor" for wage revision to be fixed at 2.57 times while government insisted it be 2.44. Only office goers and others who had important work within the city actually stepped out.

General Secretary of DMK-backed LPF, M Shanmugam, said they were not anxious about action from the government since any protest would attract action.

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Transport union leaders said they will challenge the court order, which they said is one-sided as they were not heard.

Labour Progressive Federation (DMK backed) general secretary M Shanmugam said that the government may be able to operate the buses with the help of temporary drivers, but this will not bring a permanent solution.

The strike, following the failure of talks on wage revision and clearance of pending dues with Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar, was declared on Thursday. The government just about managed to operate bus services with a skeletal fleet that AIADMK-affiliated unions were left to run.

A large number of people were seen queued up waiting for the private buses at the different bus stops.

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Return or face action: TN govt to striking transport staff