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Tamil Nadu bus strike continues for fourth day; commuters left stranded

08 January 2018

Across the state, 90% of the state and corporation run buses went off the roads due to which daily passengers and long distance travellers stranded and felt helpless.

The unions, including DMK-affiliated LPF and CITU, rejected the state government's ultimatum to return to work or face "consequences", issued following the court directive.

In a statement, Mr. Ramadoss termed as unacceptable the government's stand that the demand on wages can not be met as the transport corporations were reeling under heavy losses, and alleged that the losses were a result of mismanagement and scams. "We are not going to withdraw the strike till our problems end".

"The striking workers should go back to work or face consequences, including termination and contempt of court", it said during the hearing of a PIL seeking a direction to the state government to end the strike by holding talks.

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.

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"Appeal to employees to come back for duty, honorable court has also asked them to come back. The department will incur an additional expenditure of Rs 1000 crore per annum", he said, urging the unions to call off their strike.

"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.

He also said they have not received any communication from the court about ending their strike. Chief minister Edappadi K.Palaniswamy held a meeting with ministers to discuss the issue. On Saturday, officials in a number of districts in the state recruited temporary drivers and conductors with valid licences and operated government buses, The Hindu reported. "I was allowed to drive the bus by authorities after officials inspected my driving skills".

While the unions were demanding an increase in wages by 2.57 times, the government reportedly wanted to settle down their demands by raising it to 2.41 times.

The commuters in the state have been forced to depend on autos and the rental cab services, specifically on Ola, which has had a drastic hike in the fares.

Tamil Nadu bus strike continues for fourth day; commuters left stranded