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

Commuters were hit hard by a strike called by employees of Tamil Nadu state transport corporations on Thursday night.- Bijoy Ghosh

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. "Recourse to lighting strikes or flash strikes without notice leads to the consequences of denying the citizens of their right to free movement and is clearly illegal and against the public interest", the judge said while passing interim orders on a PIL filed in this regard. "We will move the court on Monday", said CITU state general secretary A. Soundararajan.

The trade unions called for the strike after several rounds of talks with transport minister M.R.Vijayabhaskar failed to yield result.

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. The government had also issued an ultimatum, asking workers to return to work, else it will not hesitate to take action as per law.

He also said that instances of striking employees "intimidating" others who wanted to work had been reported. "If the court has passed an order without out hearing our views, it amounts denial of natural justice. It will continue till our problems end". "But they even refused that", he said.

He said this was necessary since talks with the Transport Minister had hit a roadblock.

He expressed regret over the hardship being caused to people in the wake of the strike. Chief Minister K. Palaniswami held meetings with ministers while opposition parties urged the government to accept the workers' demands.

Office-goers stranded at a bus terminus in Chennai on Friday as employees of Tamil Nadu state transport corporations went on strike from Thursday night - Bijoy Ghosh

A collector, according to The Times Of India, claimed the bus services were affected least in Salem district where around 86% of government buses are operating.

Ten unions had announced launching the strike on Thursday after collapse of talks on wage revision.

The striking unions want the "factor" for wage revision to be fixed at 2.57 times while the state government insisted it be 2.44. A large number of people were seen queued up waiting for the private buses at the bus stops.

"I hold a valid heavy transport and non-transport driving licence", Rajakrishnan told PTI.

In the capital city, Chennai, a stone pelting incident has occurred at a bus depot.

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.

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