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Tamil Nadu government bus strike enters day two: Commuters face harrowing time

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    Chennai, Jan 5: Commuters across Tamil Nadu bore the brunt of an indefinite strike called by 10 transport unions as buses went off the roads for the second day in a row on Friday.

    On Thursday, office-goers, school children and other passenger were left stranded across the state after Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) and other government buses' employees suddenly decided to go on a strike in the evening.

    bus strike

    The various transport workers' unions in Tamil Nadu decided to go on an indefinite strike after the state transport department failed to fulfill their wage revision and other demands.

    "Indefinite strike by Transport workers' unions in Tamil Nadu over failed negotiations with the state transport department demanding wage revision among other things: Visuals from Coimbatore," tweeted ANI.

    "Commuters face problems due to strike by Transport workers' unions in #TamilNadu demanding wage revision among other things: Visuals from #Rameswaram," tweeted ANI.

    Photographs shared by ANI showed how commuters from Rameswaram to Coimbatore were stuck in bus stops as vehicles refused to ply on roads on Friday.

    Trade union representatives, who attended the talks with transport minister MR Vijayabaskar on Thursday, said no consensus was arrived at over a key demand on a "factor" determining wage structure.

    On the other hand, Vijayabaskar said the hike proposed this time was "unprecedented" and urged the workers to resume work in the interest of the people.

    He said a majority of the workers were affiliated to the ruling AIADMK backed union and expressed confidence that bus services will not be affected. "There will be minor issues but we will address them," he said.

    Trade union leaders, A Soundarrajan (CITU) and M Shanmugam of DMK backed Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), told reporters that the strike was on after "talks collapsed."

    Soundarrajan, a senior CPI(M) leader, said the government's proposal was not acceptable to them."The strike starts now," he said.

    The unions were aware of the hardship that people would face following their decision to go on strike, but "we have no other way to tackle the government's approach," he said. "We regret that people will suffer... we are ready for talks anytime," the leader said.

    About 10 unions had joined the strike and these comprise about 95 per cent of the 1.4 lakh odd workforce of the state transport corporations, he claimed when asked how many employees will join the stir.

    The strike announcement took commuters by surprise as a section of the employees had stopped plying buses in the evening even before the official announcement from the unions came.

    With some buses remaining off the roads, people opted for alternative modes of transport such as train, autorickshaws and private transport in various parts of the state.

    "Last evening I faced a lot of trouble while going back to home. I always travel by buses, as I stay in the city's suburb. There were no buses on roads on Thursday. I hired a cab and spent a lot of money on the fare. Today, I have decided to take off from work," said Sukumar NT, an IT professional from Chennai.

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