COMMUTERS IN the state capital and most parts of Tamil Nadu were left stranded on Monday as 10 transport workers’ unions, representing the state’s eight corporations, went on indefinite strike from late Sunday evening.
The unions want the government to address issues such as low wages and stoppage of benefits for pensioners for the last three years. They also want the government to compensate for losses incurred by transport corporations — to a certain extent by the need to fulfill populist social welfare policies of the government — and resolve their financial crisis.
Buses are the main means of transportation for most people in Tamil Nadu, and the office of state Transport Secretary confirmed that at least 80 per cent bus services have been affected since midnight Sunday. While the protesting unions claimed support of 95 per cent of employees, state Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar claimed that 75 per cent of transport unions are operating despite the strike.
Employees affiliated to the ruling AIADMK’s trade union, Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai (ATP), are officially working, although many of them are supporting the strike and remained off duty on the first day.
Ten unions led by CITU and DMK are leading the strike.
Arumuga Nainar, general secretary of CITU-backed transport workers’ union, the second largest in the state, said they would call off the stir only if the government agrees to share the huge gap between income and expenditure in the transport sector.