January 11, 2018
Chennai: The indefinite strike by transport unions entered eighth day today and has been intensified, despite the Rs 750-crore package announced by the government yesterday. Workers from central unions joined the indefinite fast at Pallavan House.
Earlier on Wednesday, workers besieged the Labour Welfare Board building in Teynampet.
The workers were insisting on cancellation of the January 4 order where the 2.44 multiplication factor was implemented in salaries. “We just want 0.13 more and we believe that will not be difficult for the government. Secondly, we want government to start talks at the earliest which, again, is not difficult,” said a union leader.
Petitions against the strike came for hearing today at Madras High Court. Unions pleaded cancellation of the January 4 order. They also sought directions to the government to start discussions soon.
DMK-backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) general secretary M Shanmugam, said, “A retired judge has to be appointed to start the talks between us and the government.”
Salaries should be like that for permanent government employees as per the 2.57 multiplication factor. The salary deductions worth Rs 5,000 towards social security schemes should be given back. Terminal benefits of retired employees should be released immediately and the , government should remove discrepancies in pay scale within the department, he added.
In the capital, traffic was very heavy in localities like Guindy with more people taking out their personal vehicles along key stretches like Anna Salai and Vadapalani 100ft road. Traffic came to a near halt at Guindy and Ambattur estate roads.
Suburban trains were over-crowded and commuters were of the view that the Government should take some interim measures immediately to resolve the travel woes caused by the strike.
In Salem, a government bus driven by a temporary driver hit a private bus and fortunately none was injured.
The Metro Rail announced special trains and the Southern Railway was running additional services.
The State Government is said to have confidentially released the bus schedule for Pongal holidays. Five bus terminals had been assigned to streamline the bus boarding process. These were Anna Nagar West bus stand, Ponnamalle bus stand, Saidapet Court bus stand, Tambaram Sanatorium bus stand and CMBT at Koyambedu.
Sources said the government proposed to have additional drivers and conductors, besides hiring school and college buses as also private vehicles to counter the strike.