Tamil Nadu transport strike: Government agrees to pay Rs 750 cr in dues to retired staff; urges for protest to be called off

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New Delhi | Published: January 10, 2018 1:24:26 PM

Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami has submitted to the protesters' demand. As per media reports he has confirmed to pay pending dues to transport employees.

Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami urges to call off strikes by transport workers

After seven days of the state-wide bus strike, Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami has agreed to the protesters’ demands. As per media reports, he has confirmed to pay pending dues to transport employees. As per reports, Rs 750 crores will be paid to retired workers before Pongal. With this announcement, the CM has appealed to the transport unions to call off the bus strike and report to work immediately. This comes ahead of the tabling of a bill to double the salaries of Tamil Nadu MLAs in the state assembly on Wednesday. The Madras High Court, on Sunday (January 6) had also ordered the unions to call off their strike. The Palaniswami government, earlier, had announced an increase in their wages by 2.44 times. However, the transport workers are adamant on a 2.57-time hike.

Notably, the 17 transport trade unions on strike include those affiliated to the opposition DMK and the Left. The issue triggered uproarious scenes in the Assembly this week. Reportedly, the strike has been ongoing in the state since past seven days. The strike has affected passengers across the state. Earlier, the authorities refused to accept the demands of the striking employees, who are seeking higher wages and kept recruiting temporary bus drivers in a desperate attempt to restore bus services in the sprawling state.

As far as the hike of TN MLAs salary is concerned, DMK’s MK Stalin has said, “People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike demanding salary hike”. The bill takes the new pay packet of Tamil Nadu MLAs to Rs 1.05 lakh per month, a 90.91% hike over their earlier salary of Rs 55,000. It also hikes the ‘MLA Constituency Development Scheme’ fund allocation to Rs 2.50 crore from Rs 2 crore. Similarly, pension for former MLAs and members of the now-defunct Legislative Council will be increased to Rs 20,000 from the present Rs 12,000.

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