Scores of commuters were left stranded in Koyambedu bus terminal of Chennai as an indefinite strike by the transport workers' unions in Tamil Nadu continued for the third day.
Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain unions, it said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court. In a joint statement, workers unions said the government had held 21 rounds of talks with them in the last 16 months but had not been able to come to a decision on the wage revision issue.
"I have been waiting for a few hours now, but the bus is not running". He said, "Thirty employees refused to accept the agreement".
While the unions were demanding an increase in wages by 2.57 times, the government reportedly wanted to settle down their demands by raising it to 2.41 times. The High Court said that the government could take action against those who have stopped work. "If they fail to do so, as per the law, departmental action will be initiated against them".
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader A. Soundarrajan said they were ready for talks and regretted that people will suffer.
DMK working president MK Stalin on Friday, spoke to Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palanisamy over phone and expressed concern over the ongoing transport strike and urged the government to expedite talks with the unions.
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Further, seven unions joined the strike today, taking the number to 17, he told reporters here.
Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop. They called the strike on Thursday evening after unions said talks with Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar on revising their salary and pending dues and arrears amounting to almost Rs 7,000 crore did not result in any breakthrough.
Anticipating that the High Court ruling would not result in normal operation of buses as the trade unions are firm in their stance of continuing the strike until all their demands are met, passengers had made their own arrangements to reach their destinations.
He also warned that strict action will be taken against private buses who charge extra amount from passengers.
Police have been posted at bus depots to prevent any untoward incidents.