January 9, 2018
Striking transport workers on Tuesday intensified the stir, bringing their families onto the street, to make the point more strikingly about their demand for higher wages. The strike resulted in the crippling of the bus services for the sixth consecutive day even as the temporary drivers proved more dangerous, being involved in four accidents on Monday.
At many places in the state, including Chennai and Coimbatore, family members of the striking workers including children, stood holding placards and shouted slogans that they wanted justice and higher wages.
In Thanjavur, some four drivers were arrested turning the situation tense but were later released. The bus drivers were suspected to have damaged buses.
In Salem, wife of one of the drivers, said that it was a question of their livelihood. Even after serving the people so well, my husband is not getting proper salary. Likewise all those who have struck work are similarly placed, she said adding that the government had promised a hike last time but it went back on its word.
What is more shocking is, she said, that the government was not paying retirement benefits of the workers even two or three years after they left service.
The issue figured prominently with the opposition leader DMK working president MK Stalin urged the chief minister to settle the issue quickly after talking to the striking workers. The CM requested help of Stalin to end the stalemate, to which Stalin promised help provided the CM took the initiative and invited the workers unions for talks. Ousted AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran also urged the government to end the stalemate at the earliest.
However, stalemate continued as government refused to relent and carried on with its threats and tough action.
“We are not scared” was the roar of the workers in unison. Workers union leaders threatened to march to the assembly and secretariat tomorrow and gherao, to highlight their demands.
The transporters strike has begun to worry the people as it would rob the Pongal of its festivities as not many can travel to their villages and vice versa.
The special buses ticket booking was to begin today, but neither the buses nor the ticket counters were to be seen anywhere, complained a student who has to go to Thanjavur to his native village.