TN transport workers' strike called off, relief for commuters ahead of Pongal

Indian travellers stand next to buses parked at a depot during a transport strike in Chennai

Tamil Nadu stranded as bus strike enters day 7

Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had also announced that the state would release Rs 750 crore to pay retirement dues of transport workers, and urged the unions to withdraw the strike.

The usual hustle and bustle at the bus stands in Chennai and Coimbatore was seen restored and the commuters expressed delight post the eight-day-long strike.

The strike call was given by workers affiliated to some transport unions, who have rejected the wage hike proposed by the Tamil Nadu government.

On the third day of strike, Vijayabaskar had appealed to bus employees to return to work.

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Given the circumstances of the pay hike for MLAs' and the timing, opposition leader M.K. Stalin criticized the decision saying in part, "People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike, demanding a salary hike".

"Our protests would continue across the state until our demands are met", said A Soundarrajan, a trade union leader.

The strike had severely crippled the public sector bus services causing huge hardship to the public, including office-goers in cities, though the government tried to maintain services by roping in temporary drivers and private buses.

Their lawyers told the court that in view of upcoming Pongal festival and keeping public interest in mind, their clients are willing to resume works provided the government gives commitment to hold talks with them on their demand for a higher wage. "Even state's transport minister M R Vijayabhaskar has also talked to the striking employees".

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