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MTC staff go on flash strike after salary delay, commuters hit
Thousands of bus passengers were stranded across the city and suburbs on Monday morning after the crew members of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) resorted to a flash strike over the delay in the disbursement of salary.
MTC drivers and conductors, affiliated to various unions, abstained from work protesting the delay in full payment of salary for the month of June.
Office-goers and students dependent on MTC services were taken by surprise by the flash strike from 4 am on Monday. Commuters were put to severe hardship and many of them were left waiting for a long time unaware of the strike. Autorickshaws, share-autos and cabs charged twice or thrice than normal as they were in high demand.
The flash strike caused a mad rush in the suburban train stations in the city on Monday. Stations on Chennai Beach-Tambaram, Beach-Velachery, MMC-Tiruvallur and MMC-Avadi were crowded more than usual as buses were not available during peak hours. Stations like Guindy, Park, Beach, which would be crowded regularly, were jam-packed on Monday. Railway authorities said that the extend of hike patronage due to the strike could only be ascertained later. They added that they have not received any requests from the government or other departments to operate special trains.
Chennai Metro was also crowded with office-goers and students. “All Metro stations witnessed higher footfalls of passengers than normal days with the buses remaining off the roads,” said a senior CMRL official.
The unions affiliated to DMK and CPM called off the strike later in the afternoon after the MTC management assured that they would pay the full salary by Monday evening.
Transport Minister MR Vijaybhaskar said that the strike was carried out over a rumour that only a portion of the salary would be paid. “The full salary was credited as June 30 was a Sunday. The workers announced the strike at the instigation of opposition unions,” he said, adding that the strike impacted services at four out of the 33 depots. “All the services were operated at 24 depots while 80 per cent services were unaffected at the rest of the depots,” he added.
Strike rocks Assembly as ex-minister seeks transparency
A sudden flash strike by MTC drivers in Chennai seeking salaries on time rocked the Tamil Nadu Assembly with DMK MLA and former Transport Minister KN Nehru seeking transparency on the issues related to transport corporations. “Why is the government not able to pay the salaries on time,” Nehru asked. He also said that the transport workers were subjected to stress due to inadequate rest and stretched working hours. In his reply, Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar denied that the strike affected the public. Of the total 33 depots, all the depots functioned. There were complaints from six depots that 10 per cent of the staff were asked not to operate the buses by trade unions. The issue has been addressed and salary amounting to Rs 55 crore will be paid, the minister informed the Assembly.