Tamil Nadu Transport Minister appeals to bus employees

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"We have made a decision to continue the strike and approach the Supreme Court as early as possible", said CITU chief A Soundarajajan, who held a meeting with union leaders after the court directive.

MR Vijayabhaskar, TN Transport Minister, said, "Appeal to employees to come back for duty, the honorable court has also asked them to come back".

Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain unions, it said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court.

Sounderrajan, who held discussions with other trade unions, including the DMK-backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) today, urged the government to hold talks to settle the issue amicably, even as he expressed regret over difficulties caused to commuters following the strike.

A temporary driver roped in to fill in for striking road transport corporation bus operator in Tirupur rammed the vehicle into a house. Chief Justice Indira Banerjee had said that workers could not go on such sudden strikes without any prior intimation. Despite financial constraints of transport corporations a wage revision providing for 2.44 times increase in basic pay and once in three years revision was signed on Thursday. The High Court said that the government could take action against those who have stopped work.

'Those who don't come to work and cause hardship to the public must face the consequences, ' the court told the drivers. If the government takes action, the employees must face it. The trade unions demand a 2.57 percent hike while the government insisted on 2.44 percent hike. "We are yet to receive a copy of the high court order. This wage agreement had the highest revision proposed, where the minimum was Rs 2,684 while the highest was Rs 11,361", the Minister said.

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When Express tried to find out what was the reason behind people not thronging bus stands, as is the norm, it came to light that after the strike began on Thursday evening most people chose to stay home on Friday.

According to a report in the Times of India, around 1.8 crore passengers use 20,800 buses for their commute on a daily basis.

A large number of people were seen queued up waiting for the private buses at the different bus stops.

Police were posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.

Following the strike, commuters alleged over-charging by autos and private buses even as scores opted for suburban rail services in Chennai.

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