Transport wage talks ends, but key TUs refuse to sign deal

Despite strong opposition from the trade unions, the Transport Department did not budge on its decision to increase the wage agreement validity period to four years from three years.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: The 14th wage agreement negotiations ended on Wednesday with 20 trade unions, including CITU, Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai and AITUC, walking out and refusing to sign the deal opposing the move to increase the wage revision period to four years.

After the talks with trade unions, Transport Minister SS Sivasankar announced that the 14 wage agreement talks concluded with the decision taken on a few demands on Wednesday. “The permanent workers of the Tamil Nadu Transport Corporations would get a five per cent pay hike based on the pay matrix from September 1, 2019. The workers were already being paid Rs 1,000 interim relief from February 1, 2021,” he said, adding that the Rs 1,000 would be the minimum wage hike. Drivers and conductors working in the ordinary city and town bus services where women passengers are allowed to travel free would get double incentives, he noted.

Despite strong opposition from the trade unions, the Transport Department did not budge on its decision to increase the wage agreement validity period to four years from three years. “The agreement will be valid from September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2023,” he said.

DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), which also opposed increasing the wage agreement validity to four years, eventually signed the agreement. In total, 66 trade unions took part in the wage negotiations. Of them, 20 unions, including CITU, Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai and AITUC, refused to sign the wage agreement.

CITU state president A Soundararajan said they walked out of the negotiations as the corporation decided to increase the agreement validity to four years and refused to pay wages for 21 days of protest that happened from 2011 to 2021. “We agreed to 90 per cent of the provisions in the wage agreement,” he said, adding that his union would hold protests across the state on Thursday protesting against the wage agreement.

The Minister told reporters that a temporary suspension period in connection with the strike and leave during the protest would be considered as the working day and all the departmental actions during that period would be dropped.

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