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Tamil Nadu to double MLAs’ salaries amid transport workers’ strike for better pay

DMK working president MK Stalin condemned the wage hike for MLAs as cruel. An MLA gets a salary of Rs 55,000 per month.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2018 22:00 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Salary hike of Tamil Nadu MLAs,Tamil Nadu MLAs wage wike,Wage hike
Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit during his maiden address to the state assembly in Chennai on January 8.(PTI File Photo)

Legislators in Tamil Nadu have moved a proposal to hike their salaries by nearly 100% amid a crippling strike by thousands of transport workers seeking better wages, in a move condemned by the opposition and trade unions.

Deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, who also holds the finance portfolio, tabled a bill seeking to double the salary of the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) on Wednesday. An MLA gets a salary of Rs 55,000 per month.

Trade union leaders leading the agitation of the transport workers were the first to deplore the government’s move.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions leader and president of Tamil Nadu State Transport Employees Federation A Soundararajan and DMK backed Labour Progressive Federation’s (LPF) president M Shanmugam said that employees were fighting for their rights, wage revision and payment of arrears amounting to Rs 7,500 crore, but the MLAs were voting themselves a 100% hike in salaries.

“It is nothing but our own money that the government has illegally misappropriated. Most of the sum amounting to Rs 5,500 crore was not deposited into our PF (provident fund) accounts and we cannot even take loans,” Soundararajan said.

DMK working president MK Stalin condemned the wage hike for MLAs as cruel and said that his party had opposed the bill at the inception stage itself.

“We strongly oppose the bill now too when thousands of workers are on the streets with their families and children for their genuine demands. For the past two days, the family members of the striking workers are on the street but the government is not doing anything about it,” Stalin said.

Rebel AIADMK leader Dhinakaran said the move only showed the lopsided priorities of the government and its utter disregard for people and their sufferings. He appealed to the government to end the stalemate soon by accepting the genuine demands of the striking workers.

As many as 17 trade unions launched the indefinite strike from January 4, with scores of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) staff joining the protest. The agitating unions have been demanding a 2.57% hike in wages.

Read more: TN govt announces Rs 750 cr for retirement dues of transport workers

First Published: Jan 10, 2018 16:21 IST