TN bus strike continues, strikers' families protest
(5 months ago)
Chennai, Jan 9 : Family members of striking employees of state-run buses in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday staged demonstrations across the state as the crippling work stoppage entered the sixth day.
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.
Union leaders admit the strike had caused inconvenience to the people ahead of Pongal festival but claimed that the working and middle classes support their cause.
The wife of a driver protesting along with her husband and other staff complained that the demands were just.
"We are asking for the money that belongs to us," she said. "My husband has been serving without a break. And when they ask for their dues, this is the treatment they get," she told a private television channel.
The government claims that half the fleet is back on the roads, but commuters complained that this not appear to be so.
Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar announced special buses for Pongal but commuters said this looked like a promise only on paper.
The striking workers again turned down a plea of the Minister to resume work.
The strike resonated in the Tamil Nadu Assembly where DMK leader M.K. Stalin urged the Chief Minister to talk to the striking workers.
Rebel AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dinakaran, speaking for the first time in the House after his election victory last month, also urged the government to resolve the problems of the strikers.
Dinakaran said the strike had caused great hardships to people all over Tamil Nadu, where state-run buses play a major role in transporting hundreds of thousands daily.