CHENNAI: THE First Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday refused to vacate its interim order passed on Friday last, which declared the ongoing flash strike by the workers of the various State-owned transport corporations as illegal and warned that their services would be terminated if they continued to go ahead with the strike.
After listening to the submissions of the counsel for various trade unions on Monday, the Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose modified its interim order to the effect that no worker shall be ousted without permission from the court.
“Prima facie, it appears to us that the strike is in contravention of clauses (a) to (d) of sub-section 1 of Section 22 of the Industrial Disputes Act. As of now, we are not inclined to vacate the interim stay restraining the transport corporation workers from taking recourse to strike, particularly the drivers and conductors, considering the predicament of the general public who are constrained to use the public transport services. There can be no doubt that the rights of the workers are also of paramount importance and they cannot be denied their legitimate entitlements. However, recourse to sudden strike is not the solution as per Section 22 of the ID Act,” the Bench said.
It, however, modified the interim order passed on January 5 last only to the extent that no worker shall be terminated without the permission of the court.The Bench also expected the State authorities to immediately release the outstanding provident fund and other monetary benefits due to the workers, particularly where deductions had been made from their wages/salaries.
The Bench posted the public interest writ petition from one Varaki, based on which the interim order was passed on January 5, along with other connected applications, to the specially constituted bench of Justices S Manikumar and M Govindaraj, which was already seized of a similar matter relating to pension and payment of pension benefits to the retired workers. “Needless to mention that all further orders, as may be necessary, may be passed on the writ petition, including modification of the interim order if deemed necessary,” the Bench added.
Earlier, the counsel for the unions brought to the notice of the Bench the various issues between them and the corporations/government, including the issue of non-release of PF that had been deducted from their wages.
Reacting to the contentions of the unions earlier, the Chief Justice at one stage said why the government should not hand over the transport business to the private sector, if it could not run it profitably. The unions also alleged that the opposition parties were fuelling the strike. Denying the allegation that they resorted to a lightning strike, they claimed that notice was given as early as in February last year.
Temporary driver held for killing teenager
Chennai: A day after an 18-year-old boy was killed by an MTC bus driver at Santhome, city police arrested the driver, who had been temporarily appointed due to the strike by the transport employees. The driver has been identified as Balakrishnan (45) of Kannagi Nagar. Police said the driver used to drive for a private company and hired as a temporary driver for two days. Police said R Ajith Kumar from Domming Kuppam was speeding along with another friend who was riding another motorbike, and they were trying to cross the road when they were knocked down by the rear tyre of the MTC bus (No 102).
Three buses damaged in stone pelting
Chennai: Three MTC buses were damaged in three different stone-pelting incidents in Kancheepuram and Chennai on Monday. According to police sources, a group of unidentified members covered their faces with black cloths and pelted stones at the buses, in which windshields of three buses were damaged. When an MTC was moving towards Kancheepuram near Natarajapuram, a gang threw stones at the bus. Temporary driver Nethaji on duty was injured. The gang pelted stones at the bus even after the driver stopped the bus. In another incident, a bus was attacked near Kumaravadi.
AS many as 11,819 employees of the TNSTC Coimbatore Division are being issued show-cause notices for their participation in the flash strike. They have been given one week to reply to the notices
Police detained over 139 people of various associations after they staged protest to extend their support to the State-wide strike of the transport employees. Police had denied permission to the protests
As many as 4,500 striking employees were served with show-cause notices by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) authorities. Employees were given 72 hours to reply
Over a thousand transport employees from various unions such as CITU, AITUC, HMS, INTUC staged a protest in front of Tirunelveli Junction Railway Station. Among them 495 staffs were detained
400 members of trade unions assembled near the travellers bungalow, and took out a rally towards the Abraham Pandithar road. When they were passing through Pillukara street, they were arrested
Conductor arrested for damaging windshield
Pudukkottai: A conductor of TNSTC, Pudukkottai division, was arrested at Annavasal for damaging the windshield of a bus. Sources said a TNSTC bus was moving towards Kilikudi from Pudukkottai when N Perumal, an employee taking part in the strike, stopped the bus at Sandaipatti diversion road and broke the windshield