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Transport workers in TN reject Madras HC direction to call off strike

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Tamil Nadu Transport Minister M R Vijayabhaskar

Workers are demanding wage hike among other things.

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%.

Earlier on the second day of the strike, the head of the Centre of Indian Trade Union, Soundararjan, had said, "We don't want to subject the public to hardship but the government is pushing us".

Chennai: Striking transport employees on Sunday refused to budge from their belligerent stand of continuing with their indefinite agitation and announced that they would knock at the doors of the Madras High Court seeking a review of its verdict asking them to get back to work immediately.

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.

Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabaskar accused "some unions" of trying to flare up the strike for their own agenda even as 32 trade unions signed the wage agreement.

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Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain unions, it said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court. The trade unions demand a 2.57 percent hike while the government insisted on 2.44 percent hike.

"If (the transport staff) continue with the protest and cause trouble to people, the government will not hesitate to take action as per law against them", he added. The court posted the next hearing for Monday.

A large number of people were seen queued up waiting for the private buses at the different bus stops.

Officials said buses were being run by utilising services of workers affiliated to ruling AIADMK-backed union ATP.

Following the strike, commuters alleged over-charging by autos and private buses even as scores opted for suburban rail services in Chennai. "We demanded the transport workers wages to be raised on par with government employees but they did not agree".

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