Tamil Nadu stranded as bus strike enters day 7

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in the state assembly on Tuesday urged workers to accept the government’s offer and withdraw the strike

Tamil Nadu stranded as bus strike enters day 7

Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had also announced that the state would release Rs 750 crore to pay retirement dues of transport workers, and urged the unions to withdraw the strike. Tamil Nadu State Transport minister MR Vijayabaskar said these unions were spreading false information about the government's efforts.

The unions want a 2.57 times hike, but the government, after 23 rounds of talks, has agreed for a 2.44 times raise.

On the MLA hike, DMK's MK Stalin said, "People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike demanding salary hike".

The Chief Minister stated that numerous demands made by the workers have been met and they should end their strike.

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The strike had severely crippled the public sector bus services causing vast hardship to the public, including office-goers in cities, though the government tried to maintain services by roping in temporary drivers and private buses.

However, on Thursday, the unions told the Madras High Court that they would resume work immediately if the court would refer the wage dispute to arbitration. This is unnecessary when the state is facing severe problems. Transport staff members have been on strike for the past 8 days, crippling bus services in the city and elsewhere.

The continuing bus strike, in a state where state-run buses ferry hundreds of thousands daily, had forced more and more people to take to local trains, making them over-crowded. Though the strike is statewide, the bulk of those affected will be in populous urban areas. For some who have even retired, the struggle has been a long one.

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