Tamil Nadu: Transport strike called off after government agrees to disburse Rs 1,250 crore
CITU leader A Soundararajan said the money would be used to clear pension and gratuity dues of all retired employees and dearness allowance arrears.
Transport unions in Tamil Nadu withdrew their indefinite strike late on Tuesday evening after the state government assured them that it would immediately disburse Rs 1,250 crore and promised to settle pension dues by September. “Of the Rs 1,700 crore due for retired workers, the government has agreed to settle Rs 1,250 crore immediately and the rest would be paid in three months,” Centre of Indian Trade Unions General Secretary A Soundararajan told NDTV. “The strike period would be treated as leave and there would be no victimisation.”
Soundararajan said the amount would be used to clear pension and gratuity dues of all retired employees and dearness allowance arrears. During the meeting between transport union leaders and senior ministers, including Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar, the state government agreed to improve the financial condition of transport corporations that currently incur huge losses. The government said it would also announce the method of provident fund deduction from employees’ salaries within three months, reported The New Indian Express. The CITU leader told The Hindu that wage revision talks would be held on May 24.
The strike was called off after the Madras High Court on Tuesday warned transport workers of action under Essential Services Maintenance Act if they did not resume duty. Although workers will resume work from Wednesday, complete normalcy is not expected before Thursday, reported NDTV.
The strike was announced after negotiations with the state government failed on Sunday. During the talks, Tamil Nadu Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar had told union leaders that the government would release Rs 500 crore in September, which the leaders rejected and demanded disbursement of at least Rs 1,000 crore.
To tackle the commuters’ rush on Monday, the Southern Railways operated special unreserved long-distance train services. Besides, the government had asked retired employees of the transport corporations as well as new drivers to help them overcome the crisis. Private operators were also requested to ply more buses.