Tamil Nadu transport workers call off 8-day strike 'temporarily'

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The Tamil Nadu bus staff strike continued for the 8th consecutive day as their demands have still not been fulfilled.

The decision also came in the wake of the Madras High Court appointing an arbitrator today to settle the dispute between the government and the employees over wage revision.

Tamil Nadu has over 22,000 buses with a workforce of about 143,000 employees.

However, the bench refused to include the other demands of the trade unions, including wages during the strike period and dropping of criminal and departmental actions taken against the striking workers as a subject matter of the arbitration, saying the unions can not seek to adjudicate what is not their case.

The AIADMK backed union, besides some others, had not participated in the protests.

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The bench noted that government agreed to three of five demands by the unions, subject to employees resuming work from this evening.

The minister, who has been accusing the unions of misleading the employees, said the present increase would result in an additional burden of Rs1,000 crore to the state exchequer.

Responding to the criticism of striking before the busy Pongal holiday period, he said, "The Transport Minister will have to solve it", essentially not giving the government in general and the minister in particular any breathing room with regards to an outcome of the discussions. More than 1 lakh people of the state transport department are on strike and this has crippled the main transportation medium for the state and the city.

The workers struck work citing other demands also like pending dues for serving and retired personnel.

A report in Thozhilalar Koodam, a blog on labour issues in Tamil Nadu, outlined some of the details of the strike.

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