Tamil Nadu: Transport workers ends their eight-day long strike

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In a huge relief for the people of Tamil Nadu, an indefinite strike called by the workers in state-owned bus services demanding higher wages ended after Madras High Court's intervention.

In a peace-offering meant to break the deadlock, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday allocated ₹750 crore towards benefits to transport department employees, who have retired on or before November 30, 2017. Tamil Nadu State Transport minister MR Vijayabaskar said these unions were spreading false information about the government's efforts.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president MK Stalin also opposed the bill and said, "People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike demanding a salary hike".

Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in a suo motu statement in the assembly appealed to the employees to accept the offer and withdraw their protest.

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The AIADMK-backed union, besides some others, had not participated in the protests, reported NDTV. "This will be provided before Pongal festival", he said.

"The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state", he added.

The bench noted that government agreed to three of five demands by the unions, subject to employees resuming work from this evening. However, it refused to accept the transporters' other demands - that the government should pay transport workers wages for the strike period and drop all criminal cases against them. "If the state is not bothered about public interest, we too are not bothered", counsels for the unions told the court.

There are almost 1.4 lakh workers in the TN's transport department who handle around 22,500 buses. But, the unions maintained that the strike was not only legal but also justified.