Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Bus strike hits 50 lakh commuters

Bus strike hits 50 lakh commuters

"Those who don't come to work and cause hardship to the public must face the consequences, whoever they may be", the court said.

Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar appealed to the unions to return to work.

After the flash strike by the government transport employees began late on Thursday, a majority of commuters from the Fort City gave the buses a miss on Friday. Even though trade unions affiliated to the ruling party did not strike work, most of the buses were parked in all the nine depots in the district.

As the strike entered the second day on Friday crippling operation of the eight transport corporation running about 21,000 buses, the first bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee ordered the workers to resume work or face the effect including termination and contempt of court. "But workers have gone on strike causing inconvenience to the public", he said. "We have made a decision to continue the strike and approach the Supreme Court as early as possible", said CITU chief A Soundarajajan, who held a meeting with union leaders after the court directive.

Soundararajan said that the workers resorted to strike as the government went ahead with signing wage agreement without talks concluding.

"The alternative measures that are being taken by the government will only worsen the problem".

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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.

CITU leader A Soundarrajan said he felt the court had not heard their side and that the unions will put forth their views on Monday before the bench.

DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly M K Stalin spoke to Chief Minister K Palaniswami over the phone and urged the government to hold talks with the trade unions to end the stalemate. The government just about managed to operate bus services with a skeletal fleet that AIADMK-affiliated unions were left to run. In some towns, strikers got into the scuffle with operational buses.

A large number of people were seen queued up waiting for the private buses at the different bus stops. The trade unions called for the strike after several rounds of talks with transport minister M.R.Vijayabhaskar failed to yield result.

Following the strike, commuters alleged over-charging by autos and private buses even as many opted for suburban rail services in Chennai.

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