Transport workers in TN reject Madras HC direction to call off strike

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"I request the employees and trade unions who are involved in this unnecessary strike to realise the factual situation and get back to work as per the court directive", he said.

Drivers and conductors of various state transport corporations are demanding wage hike among other things.

The unions, including DMK-affiliated LPF and CITU, rejected the state government's ultimatum to return to work or face "consequences" and also claimed they had not received the court order.

Unions today announced that the strike will continue till their demands are met.

High court first bench headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee said workers could not resort to such flash strikes without any prior intimation, causing trouble to public.

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

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

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Many politicians and celebrities including DMK working president M K Stalin, actors Kamal Haasan and Vishal have raised their voice in support of the transport workers and asked the government to solve the issue in a democratic manner.

When Express tried to find out what was the reason behind people not thronging bus stands, as is the norm, it came to light that after the strike began on Thursday evening most people chose to stay home on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Southern Railway, in an official release, said, "It is made a decision to operate weekday services instead of weekend reduced services in Chennai Beach-Tambaram and MRTS suburban sector to accommodate extra rush in view of the strike". Soundararajan alleged that the government which have a debt of Rs three lakh crore got money to hike the salary of MLAs to Rs one lakh, increase judges salary by twice and hike wage of TN Public Service Commission members by three times to Rs 1.8 lakh.

Reading out a statement before reporters, he said the government had proposed a "very good" wage revision agreement despite financial issues faced by the transport corporations.

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. Several daily commuters are stranded on the bus stand in Chennai due to the strike.

Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop.

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.

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