CHENNAI: The seventh round of talks between the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation led by Transport Minister SS Sivasankar and 66 trade union representatives on Wednesday began with the expectations of the negotiations for the 14th wage agreement getting concluded.
However, immediately after the commencement of the talks, the minister told the representatives that he would talk with the union representatives separately in another room on new demands.
DMDK Trade Union secretary Kaalirajan walked out of the negotiations in protest against the Minister's decision to hold talks with the unions separately. "The Minister doesn't want to negotiate on the decision to increase the duration of the validity of the wage agreement to four years from the existing three years. He also refuses to talk about the dearness allowance revision pending for the 81 months to the pensioners. I have expressed my opposition to holding talks with unions separately," Kaalirajan told reporters at the MTC training centre at Chrompet. He, later, rejoined the ongoing negotiations.
The minister, after the sixth round of talks on August 3, had said the main issue of fixing the disparity in the wage matrix had been worked out and accepted by the unions. He said the demand put forth by the unions to increase the daily bata for the crew of the ordinary buses similar to the one paid to the crew in deluxe buses had been accepted and implemented.
"We are yet to reach an agreement on the period from which the pay matrix will be implemented and how many years once it will be renegotiated. Since the union's demands could lead to additional financial burden, we have to get approval from the finance department. Hence the talks could not be concluded, " he said.