Tamil Nadu transport strike enters 7th day, unions say stir will continue
The unions had earlier told the Madras high court that they will call off the strike only if the government holds talks with them on their wage-hike demand.india Updated: Jan 10, 2018 21:37 IST
The striking Tamil Nadu transport workers unions on Wednesday night decided to continue with their agitation as the government is yet to invite them for fresh wage negotiations.
A decision to this regard was taken after the union leaders went on a huddle in the evening to decide on their future course of action.
Transport strike disrupted normal life across the state for seven days in a row as the workers refused to join works even after the Madras high court on Friday directed them to withdraw their stir or face action.
If the state government agrees to give an undertaking to invite unions for talks to discuss their pending demands, the unions will suspend their agitation, a lawyer representing the workers unions told the high court earlier in the day.
Their lawyers told the court that in view of upcoming Pongal festival and keeping public interest in mind, their clients are willing to resume works provided the government gives commitment to hold talks with them on their demand for a higher wage.
The court, which came down heavily on the striking workers for holding the people to ransom, asked the unions to listen to their conscience while taking a call on the issue.
Justice M Govindaraj and Justice S Manikumar posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday and asked the unions to inform their decision on withdrawal of the strike by then.
Tamil Nadu advocate general Vijay Narayanan submitted to the court that the workers were holding the government to ransom and were not allowing the government transport department to function.
CITU leader and Tamil Nadu Transport Employees Federation president A Soundararajan said their stir would continue as there was no word as yet from the government on holding talks with them.
Chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami, meanwhile, announced the government will release Rs 750 crore for payment of retirement dues of transport workers.
The agitating unions have been demanding a 2.57% hike in wages and immediate payment of the arrears.
The union leaders said the chief minister’s announcement is a “routine” exercise
“It’s our money which is coming back to us. Why to make such a big song and dance about it,” said Soundararajan.