The Bombay High Court on Friday called the Maharashtra transport workers strike “illegal” and ordered that it be ended immediately, ANI reported. The court asked the state government to set up a five-member panel by October 23, The Times of India reported.

The panel will have to decide and submit an interim pay revision by November 15 and submit its final report by December 21 on the matter. The court ruled that the transport workers’ services were essential, the English daily re

The strike affected people travelling during Diwali. Lakhs of passengers use the 17,000 state buses that operate across Maharashtra every day. The state government had asked private vehicles to fill in.

Several workers even shaved their heads as part of the protest, NDTV reported.

Talks between the Maharashtra government and the transporters union on Wednesday failed. The workers had been negotiating with the administration but had refused to call off the strike till they are paid better salaries. The unions wanted their salaries revised as per the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.