On Thursday in Chennai, distressed transport workers temporarily withdrew their eight-day-old strike over salary related issues and even assured that they would return back to work on Friday, post Pongal festival, which is on 14th January. CITU leader A Soundarrajan spoke about the temporary call off of the strike and keeping in mind that the people who have made plans to travel home for the harvest festival Pongal, which will be on Sunday.
The Madras High Court appointing a judge 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. The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state."
The workers of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) had launched their indefinite strike last Thursday following the failure of talks with the government on wage revision. The government offered only 2.44 times hike, but the union wanted a 2.57 times hike, which resulted in the
While unions wanted a 2.57 times hike, the government offered only 2.44, resulting in the deadlock. The workers struck work citing other demands also like pending dues for serving and retired personnel. Soundararajan said the unions will put forth before the arbitrator their arguments on the 2.44 factor. M Shanmugam, General Secretary of DMK-backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), said "The 2.44 factor is only an interim arrangement, and said the strike was only being suspended and postponed. This strike is being suspended...Postponed," he said and lauded the workers for their unity and discipline shown during this period. Both leaders insisted that workers will resume work from early Friday.
The strike led by about 17 unions, including those backed by DMK and Left parties, had severely crippled public sector bus services for the past one week, with the government deploying temporary drivers with valid licenses to ply the buses. The AIADMK party-backed union, besides some others, had not participated in the protests. The court had earlier asked the workers to resume work or face the residue, even as it had controlled the government from initiating action against them. A retired judge E Padmanabhan was appointed when the matter came up in the High Court to settle the wage dispute.
The bench, consisting Justices S Manikumar and M Govindaraj, appointed Padmanabhan to adjudicate the difference of 0.13 multiplying factor (wage hike) and the date on which it should be applied and directed employees to return to work. It granted one month time for the mediator to submit the report. The bench noted that government had agreed to three of five demands by the unions, subject to employees resuming work from this evening. It declined to agree to the request of the unions to refer the precision and effectiveness of the alleged settlement of 4 January as one of the terms of reference.