TN Bus strike: Transport minister appeals employees to join duty

TN Bus strike: Transport minister appeals employees to join duty

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

"I appeal to employees to come back for duty, honorable court has also asked them to come back", Vijayabhaskar said addressing media at Karur.

Arguing on behalf of the state government, counsel Vijay Narayan said that a wage agreement had been signed with the workers.

The MLA's effort, however, has not gone down well with local union leaders representing transport workers. The few buses which plied had a very few passengers while government and private buses operated from Tirunelveli to Thoothukudi and Nagercoil were overflowing with passengers in the morning.

Hours later, state Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar issued the ultimatum to the employees to resume work or face action and reiterated that the present wage agreement was "unprecedented" in many aspects.

"If (the transport staff) continue with the protest and cause trouble to people, the government will not hesitate to take action as per law against them", he added.

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Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader A. Soundarrajan said they were ready for talks and regretted that people will suffer.

DMK working president MK Stalin urged chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami to end the imbroglio by holding talks with the unions and giving them a "good Pongal gift".

Further, seven unions joined the strike on Friday, taking the number to 17, he told reporters.

The strike, following the failure of talks on wage revision and clearance of pending dues with Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar, was declared on Thursday. Over 40 trade unions affiliated to the state transport corporations have chose to intensify the protest.

He also warned that strict action will be taken against private buses who charge extra amount from passengers. The State government offered a 2.41-2.44 times rise, which was rejected by union representatives.

In the capital city, Chennai, a stone pelting incident has occurred at a bus depot. The auto fare is so high, I can not afford it.

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