On Thursday, the agitated transport workers in Tamil Nadu decided to withdraw from the eight day long strike. The strike was for wage related issues but the workers stated they would return to work on Friday as the Pongal festival is on the 14th of January.
CITU Leader A. Soundarrajan explained that the strike was temporarily called off as many families plan to travel home for the Tamil harvest festival Pongal. The Madras High Court appointed an arbitrator to settle this wage dispute with the Government. Soundarrajan also stated, “The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state.”
The workers of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) went on an indefinite strike last Thursday after the Government failed to comply with a wage revision. The Unions are demanding a 2.57% hike but the Government has offered 2.44% resulting in a stalemate.
The workers explained the strike was related to more than just wage issues. They explained that there are multiple pending dues for the serving and retired personnel. Soundarrajan stated the Unions would give their argument to the arbitrator on the 2.44 factor.
General Secretary of Labour Progressive Federation M. Shanmugam said the 2.44 factor is only an interim arrangement. He further added the strike was only being suspended and postponed. He was quoted saying, “This strike is being suspended.. Postponed.”
The strike was led by 17 Unions included the ones backed by DMK and Left parties. The indefinite strike left the public sector bus service crippled for one week. The Government was forced to hire temporary drivers with valid licenses to drive the buses. The Unions backed by AIADMK also joined the strike and participated in the protest.
The workers were asked to resume work by the Court or face the consequences. But the workers did not comply until the Court stated it would leave it to the conscience of the workers.