Bus strike hits 50 lakh commuters

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A few unions agreed to the deal given by the government and desisted from joining the strike. If the government takes action, the employees must face it.

"There will be an interim order restraining the transport workers, specially, the drivers and conductors, from taking recourse to strike", the court said. "This wage agreement had the highest revision proposed, where the minimum was Rs 2,684 while the highest was Rs 11,361", the Minister said. Students, who depend on government buses for traveling to educational institutions, were reportedly worst hit by the strike.

CITU leader A Soundarrajan said he felt the court had not heard their side and that the unions will put forth their views on Monday before the bench. "Those who don't come to work and cause hardship to the public must face the consequences, whoever they may be", the court said.

On Friday afternoon, Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami called for a meeting to take stock of the situation, after the Opposition, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Left, asked the government to step in and end the strike.

Further, seven unions joined the strike today, taking the number to 17, he told reporters here.

The strike, following the failure of talks on wage revision and clearance of pending dues with Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar, was declared on Thursday.

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Officials said buses were being run by utilising services of workers affiliated to ruling AIADMK-backed union ATP.

A temporary driver roped in to fill in for striking road transport corporation bus operator in Tirupur rammed the vehicle into a house. "They may or may not have experience driving a bus".

The indefinite strike was announced after the peace talks between the government and unions failed yesterday for the eleventh time.

Police were posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.

Apart from the latest talks, the trade unions have earlier held 10 rounds of talks with the government and have demanded an increase of 2.57% hike.

Following the strike, commuters alleged over-charging by autos and private buses even as many opted for suburban rail services in Chennai.