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Strike won’t hit buses, assures government

Even as the talks between the officials and transport trade unions failed on Friday also, Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar appealed to the workers to drop their strike plan besides seeking time to allot more funds to meet the list of demands, including the payment of terminal benefits to the retired employees.

Strike won’t hit buses, assures government
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Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar

Chennai

The unions are firm on their demands and are planning to go ahead with proposed strike plan from May 15 (Monday). However, the State Labour Department has invited the unions for another round of talks on Saturday. 

A Soundararajan, president of Tamil Nadu State Transport Employees Federation (TNSTEF), told DTNext that the labour department officials had not conceded a single demand so far. 

“Officials were only reiterating what the state transport minister assured during Thursday’s meeting,” he said and made it clear that they would go ahead with the strike plan from May 15. K Veeraragavan, deputy general secretary, Tamil Nadu State Transport Retired Employees Association, said, “Since the strike should not create a bad impression among the crew operating buses and the public, we are distributing handbills with a message that the fault was only on the part of the government.” 

When contacted, a government panel member said that they were holding talks with various unions. When asked about an alternative if the employees go on strike, “we will handle it,” he said. 

During the day, Vijayabaskar addressing media persons said, “As part of the package, DA arrears for eight months – till November 2016 amounting to Rs 79 crore had been credited into the accounts of 1.45 lakh employees.Before May 17, the State would credit the gratuity and pension benefits to the retired employees based on seniority. 

The government has decided to release Rs 750 crore shortly of which Rs 500 crore will for gratuity and PF disbursal for those workers who retired before May 2015 and the remaining Rs 250 crore to meet various expenses of staff on rolls. 

“The allocation of Rs 750 crore as first instalment is the first ever massive package released by the State considering the financial status of the transport corporations,” the minister said. On the longstanding liability of Rs 7,000 crore, the minister reasoned that the sum includes Rs 1,652 crore outstanding to the retired employees, of which Rs 928 crore accrued during the DMK’s regime, and the amount remitted to the society, accrued over a period of two decades.

Asked as to what the government would do if the strike notice was not withdrawn, the minister said the Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai(ATP), the ruling party’s union along with 25 other friendly TUs, would ensure that the services were not affected.

Staff strength
  • No of employees: 1,35,000 
  • Employees participating in strike: 90,000 (approximately) 
  • Number of unions: 42 
  • Registered unions: 12 
  • Remaining employees are expected not to participate in the strike 
  • CITU and Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) are the major unions, which have more number of employees

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