Bus strike hits 50 lakh commuters

Buses parked at a depot during a transport strike in Chennai

Buses parked at a depot during a transport strike in Chennai

"Why are you not taking action against them", the minister was seen asking haughtily to policemen. "As compared to yesterday, more staff has reported for work today, we are also employing private drivers, situation will improve soon". Over 10 trade unions are on a strike pressing for wage revision and several other demands. He cautioned that temporary workers roped in by the government to operate buses in lieu of striking workers is quite risky and puts the life of commuters at risk. He said, "Thirty employees refused to accept the agreement". The strike will continue. The government has also advertised posts of temporary drivers.

DMK working president MK Stalin on Friday, spoke to Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palanisamy over phone and expressed concern over the ongoing transport strike and urged the government to expedite talks with the unions.

A collector, according to The Times Of India, claimed the bus services were affected least in Salem district where around 86% of government buses are operating.

The government has invited those possessing valid driving licences to approach local bus depots to be used as substitute drivers. He said that buses will be operated with the help of the workers in the Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai, a trade union affiliated to the AIADMK.

The transport department had earlier invited those with valid driving license to approach the local depots for this objective.

IMA to protest against NMC Bill
Similarly in Karnataka, hundreds of private hospitals shut their OPDs to protest against the NMC Bill, 2017. IMA has been strongly opposing the bill, saying it will "cripple" the functioning of medical professionals.

Following the strike, commuters alleged over-charging by autos and private buses even as many opted for suburban rail services in Chennai.

The strike has been called by the bus union after meeting state transport minister over the demand of pay hike of 2.57% as opposed to government's proposal of 2.44%. In a joint statement, workers unions said the government had held 21 rounds of talks with them in the last 16 months but had not been able to come to a decision on the wage revision issue.

As the strike entered the second day on Friday crippling operation of the eight transport corporation running about 21,000 buses, the first bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee ordered the workers to resume work or face the outcome including termination and contempt of court. The High Court said that the government could take action against those who have stopped work.

Stating that the High Court order to call off the strike goes against natural justice, the unions blamed the government for the inconvenience caused to the commuters.

The unions, including DMK-affiliated LPF and CITU, rejected the state government's ultimatum to return to work or face "consequences", issued following the court directive.

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