A week after the government employees began protesting for a wage revision, drivers and support staff of the Tamil Nadu State Transportation Corporation (TNSTC) have decided to resume duty. This comes after multiple directives from the High Court asking the employees to get back to work, citing the inconvenience that it has caused the residents of the state.
As many as 17 trade unions had launched an indefinite strike on the night of January 3, asking for the 'factor' for wage revision to be fixed at 2.57 times, while the state government contended that it should be 2.44 times. On Wednesday, the striking unions agreed to accept the 2.44 times wage hike. They also urged the Madras High Court to direct the state government to hold talks with them. The court then appointed a retired judge to act as a mediator between the unions and the government. The court had asked drivers to understand the plight of commuters who would want to go to their hometowns for Pongal.
"Retired judge Padmanabhan will act as the arbitrator and help us sort out this matter with the government," said K Arumuga Nainar of Centre of Indian Trade Unions. "Agreeing to the 2.44 factor is just for temporary relief. By the end of the month we will have thorough discussions with the government and end this problem," he added.
Since last week, hundreds of commuters have been struggling to reach their destinations due to the strike. Private bus companies have allegedly been exploiting the vaccuum in services by overcharging customers.
Despite the transport department in temporary drivers to resume services in the state, the fleet of buses was not running at its maximum capacity.