CHENNAI: A marathon three-hour talks between the government and transport workers’ unions offered a breakthrough on Tuesday, with the DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Front (LPF) agreeing for the participation of all the 11 other unions in the wage agreement negotiations.
The development comes on the day the State government announced seven per cent hike in Dearness Allowance with retrospective effect from July 1.
This is the first forward movement in the stalemate ever since the transport staff of unions affiliated to opposition parties went on a strike from Sunday, seriously affecting normal life in Chennai and elsewhere.
The LPF agreed for a compromise over its ‘sole bargaining agent right’ obtained as a result of the union getting over 57 per cent votes in the 2010 elections. It would submit a letter to this effect to the government on Wednesday.
On the other hand, the AIADMK-affiliated Anna Thozhil Sanga Peravai (ATP) agreed to withdraw its petition in the Supreme Court against the Labour Progressive Front .
Following this development, leaders of all unions will meet State Transport Minister at the Secretariat on Wednesday for the next round of talks. A decision to withdraw the three-day old strike is expected to be announced after the meeting.
Talking to reporters after the tripartite talks, the third round in the negotiations since the strike, ATP secretary Chinnasamy expressed hope that a positive outcome could be expected on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, LPF general secretary M Shanmugam said his union had agreed to the participation of all other unions in wage revision talks for the benefit of all workers.
Earlier in the day, agreeing to the proposal put forth by the managing directors of State transport undertakings, the government decided to fulfil a key demand of the workers by hiking the DA by seven per cent - ranging from `500 to `3,150 depending on the post.
All employees from the cadre of office assistant to Managing Director of the State-owned transport corporations including administrative and technical supervisors and employees who are covered under Section 12 (3) of the Wage Settlement would be benefited by this hike.
The GO issued by the Transport Department said the entire financial commitment due to this hike should be borne by the State Transport Undertakings without seeking any financial assistance directly or indirectly from the government.
The indefinite strike from Monday was to press for revision of wages, pending for 15 months and dearness allowance among other things.
However, the information that the Transport Corporation Managements had decided to cut salaries of workers who had gone on leave to attend a union meeting earlier this month triggered unrest among the workers on Sunday, prompting the unions to advance the strike by a day, catching the public and the authorities unawares.