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Tamil Nadu bus strike continues for fourth day; commuters left stranded
07 January 2018, 08:12 | Marta Robbins
The buses stand still at Koyambedu Mofussil Bus terminus following the flash strike by the Transport Employees
Scores of commuters in Tamil Nadu were stranded on Friday after state transport workers' unions announced an indefinite strike. "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.
The striking unions, immediately grabbed the opportunity to take a pot shot at the government's move.
"I appeal to employees to come back for duty, honorable court has also asked them to come back", Vijayabhaskar said addressing media here on the third day of the strike. Unions are demanding 2.57% hike in wages but State Transport Minister M.R Vijayabhaskar said the government could only agree to 2.44% increase.
Though the government has said that 85 per cent of the buses were operated in the State, the transport unions who called for the strike said that not even 10 per cent buses were plying.
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.
"Why are you not taking action against them", the minister was seen asking haughtily to policemen.
Leader of opposition MK Stalin and actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan have also appealed to Chief Minister EPS to hold talks with transport workers to end the stalemate.
Further, seven unions joined the strike on Friday, taking the number to 17, he told reporters.
Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop.
Officials said buses were being run by utilising services of workers affiliated to ruling AIADMK-backed union ATP.
He also warned that strict action will be taken against private buses who charge extra amount from passengers.
Police were posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.
The unions wanted the "factor" to be fixed at 2.57 while the government insisted that it be 2.44. The commuters complained that auto rickshaws and taxis charged exorbitant fares as the public transport system was hit.
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