The Madras High Court on Monday refused to vacate its earlier interim order directing employees of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation to call off their strike, The Hindu reported. The transport strike in Tamil Nadu entered its fifth day on Monday.

Transport unions said their protest will continue till the state government agrees to their demands – to raise wages and pay pending dues.

Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose said they will not vacate their earlier order as the strike has affected school students, daily wager workers and poor people the most, not judges, ministers or top government officials.

The court also directed the state government to address the grievances of the employees on strike and pay them their dues immediately. It told the state to not terminate the services of any worker without its permission.

On Saturday, officials in a number of districts in Tamil Nadu recruited temporary drivers and conductors with valid licences and operated government buses. Tamil Nadu Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar had appealed to bus employees to return to work.

The transport workers have asked for their salaries to be on par with those of the drivers in other government corporations. They want a 2.57% increase in salaries, but the government wants to raise them only by 2.44%