The Tamil Nadu Transport Union who were protesting for the second consecutive day demanding signing of the 15th wage revision agreement to increase their pay and to fill up vacancies for bus drivers and conductors, called off their protest on January 10.
The Anna Thozhir Sangam Peravai, Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) and other Labourers Unions said in the Madras High Court that their members shall report to duty in public interest and suspend their strike till January 19 when conciliation talks are to happen before the Labour Commissioner.
“The High Court has given an order to temporarily withdraw the strike by the Trade Union. After the meeting on 19, we will take a decision. For the past two days, there was no problem because of the strike,” Tamil Nadu Transport Minister S S Sivashankar said to media after the Transport Union announced withdrawal of the strike in the Madras High Court.
Chief Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy of the Madras High Court earlier on January 10 expressed concern over the bus strike and asked the state government and the Labourers Union to sort out the issue keeping the public interest in mind.
The Madra High Court Chief Justice’s bench on January 10 heard a PIL plea which was filed by a student from Chennai in which it was suggested to declare the ongoing bus strike illegal. The Transport Union’s demands also included releasing the dearness allowance (DA) of Rs 6,000 per month for retired workers, which has been on hold for the last eight years.
Earlier in the day, CITU State president A Soundararajan claimed that the state government is “playing politics.””They are playing politics in support of their party. We are doing the same thing we did earlier. Where is the politics? He is speaking this only to divert the people,” the CITU State President told media on January 10.
Reacting to Tamil Nadu Transport Minister SS Sivasankar’s remark that the strike is a ‘political move’, Soundararajan said that then why is he (the transport minister) asking us to return to duty? “If he (the transport minister) says that many buses are plying, then why is he calling us for talks and asking us to return to duty?” he added.
Meanwhile, due to the strike of the workers, the number of buses in Rameswaram on January 10, has reduced by less than 50 per cent compared to yesterday.
Workers affiliated with the major unions–Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), and Anna Thozhir Sanga Peravai (ATSP), among others–are part of the strike. The DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) Union has said this strike is politically motivated by AIADMK and requested all workers to ply the buses.
“LPF also has the same demands. The DMK government is fulfilling each demand one by one. By keeping the goodwill of the public in mind and also to break the AIADMK political motivation, it is being requested to run all the buses normally,” a statement from LPF Secretary and MP Shanmugam read.
(with inputs from ANI)