Transport Unions across Tamil Nadu are set to go on strike for the second time in six months. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, M Shanmugam, the Secretary of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-backed Labour Progressive Federation, said that this decision came as the last resort after multiple attempts to reach the government failed.
“There is a need to save these state-owned enterprises not just for our salary but also because the Transport Department serves a large portion of the general public,” he said.
The demands of the unions include the release of their dues towards the Provident Fund and pensions, and also giving due promotions to employees.
Accusing the government of undertaking an ‘unauthorised fare revision’, he said, "In the government order (GO), the increase in fare was 0.58 paisa for Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses and 0.68 paisa for State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) buses. The government is ignoring this GO and are charging way more than what the order specifies.”
He also said that the government is favouring private bus operators by charging more than what is mandated in the GO.
“SETC buses are now more expensive than private omnibuses due to this overcharging and this favours the omnibus owners. The public must be made aware of these activities by the government," he said.
He added that employees belonging to ten labour organisations will go on strike if these demands are not met within two weeks by the government.
In January 2018, ten labour unions went on an eight-day strike pressing similar demands on the government. It was then called off when the Madras High Court appointed an arbitrator to adjudicate the issue of wage revision between the employees and the government.
However, the strike affected lakhs of commuters, bringing life to a halt in many parts of the city.