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Chennai bus strike: Transport corporation workers turn off engines, leaving people stranded on roads

A section of Metropolitan Transport corporation (MTC) workers went on flash strike at several places in Chennai this evening leaving passengers stranded on the roads.

Published: 04th January 2018 07:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th January 2018 08:34 AM   |  A+A-

Passengers wait for buses while the staff of transport services resorted to flash strike at Koyambedu Mufisial Bus Terminus. (Photo | P Jawahar)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: As the strike doesn't seem to die down, talks between the trade union representatives and state government officials have resumed. Sources said the majority of the unions have agreed to the government offer on the pay hike, but the unions affiliated to the opposition DMK party and CITU are continuing the strike.

A section of Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) workers went on flash strike at several places in Chennai this evening leaving passengers stranded on the roads.

READ HERE |  Tamil Nadu government bus strike to continue today; passengers take the blow as traffic chokes roads

Many of the roads were filled with traffic as the buses were parked on the roadsides near by bus depots and people were forced to take private transport.

Similar situation is prevailing in various cities and towns in Tamil Nadu as buses were taken to the bus depots and passengers were told to get down since the bus would not be operated.

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Since the buses were parked on the roadsides in a few areas, other vehicles were unable to ply on the roads. App-based cab services also surged the prices. But in a few areas the cab drivers are unable to pick up their passengers since either the roads were full of traffic or buses parked on the roads literally blocked the road.

Lodges at pilgrimage towns of Velankanni and Nagore have increased the rentals as many of the devotees, who could not get a bus, decided to stay back and the rooms were quickly filled.

The sudden strike came at the end of a day-long talks between trade unions of the public transport corporations and the state government over various demands of the workers. Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar was chairing the meeting at Chrompet MTC depot in which leaders of 45 trade unions were taking part.

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The trade unions had been demanding to increase the wages for 2.57 multiplication factor, while the government allegedly offered to rise it to 2.41 multiplication factor. The trade union members strongly opposed it, said trade union members who attended the meeting. 

Trade union leaders, A Soundarrajan (CITU) and M Shanmugam of DMK backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), told reporters that the strike was on after "talks collapsed".

Further, the unions demanded fixing the minimum basic salary at Rs 19,500 whereas the government wanted it to be Rs 17,700, he added.

As the meeting continued without any conclusive for more than six hours, a section of MTC bus drivers and workers went on flash strike. They stopped bus operation at Koyambedu, Thiruvanmiyur, Anna Nagar, Thirumanaglam, Guindy and Besant Nagar.

Deserted Periyar bus stand in Madurai following the strike. (Photo | K K Sundar)

The flash strike put thousands of commuters in hardship, particularly while people who returned from their offices could not return to their homes. The metro train services between Thirumangalam and Little mount run with fully loaded passengers from the evening.

"As the buses not operated at Anna Nagar and Mugappair, I chose to travel by Metro train from Thirumangalam to Guindy," Sathya, a social worker told Express.

The workers demanded that wage revision agreement between government and transport workers should have been signed before 1st September 2016. They urged the minister seek more funds from the government to compensate the arrears.

(With inputs from PTI)



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