Buses off roads in TN for day two, strike intensifies

Buses off roads in TN for day two, strike intensifies

Commuters were hit hard for the as a number of state run buses remained off the roads across Tamil Nadu due to a strike by employees of government-run transport corporations pressing for various demands, including wage revision, for the second day today.

Employees affiliated to eleven opposition trade unions including the CPI (M)'s CITU and DMK's Labour Progressive Front intensified their strike today with protest demonstrations across Tamil Nadu.

However, drivers and conductors affiliated to ruling AIADMK's Anna Thozhir Snagam worked.

About 200 employees were detained across the state in connection with incidents related to strike including alleged stone pelting on buses in Kanyakumari, Kumbakonam and Sivaganga, police said.

A coordination meeting of 11 trade unions was held here today in which a resolution was adopted urging the government to invite them for talks.

"We will consider calling off the strike the moment the state invites us for talks. We regret the inconvenience caused to the public," CITU State president and CPI(M) MLA A Soundararajan told PTI after the meeting.

On demands of employees, he said, "invite us for talks...this itself is a demand now."
Upward wage revision is among the key demands of employees. The validity of previous wage agreement ended on September 1, 2013, he added.

The Left leader also hit out at the government saying "the government has opened the doors of jail rather than opening doors for conciliatory talks."

"We waited for 15-long months for the state to steer efforts for a new wage pact", he said.

He also condemned efforts by the government to give a "political colour" to the strike and alleged attempts to divide the trade unions.

Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today chaired a meeting at the Secretariat that deliberated the situation arising out of the strike and the demands of the employees. Top officials and ministers participated.

Offices of the State Transport Secretary and State Transport Minister V Senthil Balaji, however, declined to say anything either on the issue or the state's response to the strike.

Political parties have hit out at the government on the issue.
DMDK, PMK, CPI(M) were among the parties that urged the government to hold talks and resolve the issue.

DMDK chief Vijayakanth said "government should not try to divide the trade unions." He wondered if the state did not "have the heart" to invite employees for talks.
He also flayed alleged operation of buses by some temporary drivers.

CPI (M) Rajya Sabha member T K Rangarajan echoed him and said operation of buses by "untrained temporary drivers" posed a threat to safety.

PMK chief Ramadoss urged the government to accept the demands of the workers and end the strike.

Several commuters in bus terminals like Koyambedu, Anna Nagar and Guindy here said they did not get buses to their destinations.

"I saw only very few buses plying in even heavily commuters' patronised routes like Tambaram-Avadi and Velachery-Koyambedu," said S Arun Kumar, a commuter.

Across the state, Tamil Nadu government runs eight major transport corporations.
Metropolitan Transport Corporation, which operates buses in Chennai and its periphery alone has a fleet of 3,798 buses and employs 24,052 personnel. State Express Transport Corporation operates long distance buses.

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