Tamil Nadu Transport Unions’ Strike: 80% Buses Operational Amid Workers’ Indefinite Stir9th January 2024
Transport unions in Tamil Nadu have initiated an indefinite strike today, citing their ‘6 point charter of demands,’ which primarily revolves around enhanced wages, filling vacant posts, and the release of pending Dearness Allowance for both active and retired workers.
Despite the strike call, officials report that approximately 80% of buses in Tamil Nadu are still operational. The strike announcement followed unsuccessful talks with the government on Monday, prompting state-run buses to stay off the roads.
Transport Minister SS Sivasankar attributed the strike to ‘political motives’ and warned of potential actions against it. However, the unions remain steadfast in their demands, including the release of Dearness Allowance pending for eight years for pensioners.
Operational Buses Amidst Strike
Contrary to the strike, state government buses continue to operate in various parts of Tamil Nadu, ensuring minimal disruption to commuters in cities like Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, and Kanyakumari districts.
Demands of the Transport Unions
The transport unions are urging the fulfillment of their ‘6-point charter of demands,’ which includes negotiations for enhanced wages (15th wage revision pact), filling vacant posts, and the prompt release of pending Dearness Allowance for both active and retired workers.
One crucial demand pertains to the release of Dearness Allowance pending for pensioners for the past eight years. Trade union leaders clarify that they are not seeking a salary hike but rather the release of the long-overdue DA, amounting to Rs 6,000 per month for 96,000 pensioners.
Addressing the media after the failed talks on Monday, CITU leader A Soundararajan expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s response, stating that none of the transport workers’ demands could be accepted at present. The government, however, has left the possibility of resuming talks after the Pongal festival next week.
While the Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), affiliated with the ruling DMK, is not participating in the strike, the main opposition Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai (ATP) of AIADMK is actively protesting, asserting that the demands of the workers have not been met.