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April 26, 2018
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Minister appeals to agitating workersSays agreement signed was the best

Even as Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami held a meeting with senior Ministers and officials on Friday over the situation that developed following the strike staged by most of the unions of transport workers and ways to manage the situation, the order of the High Court later in the day gave the government another reference to cite to striking workers to give up their protest.

Reading out from a prepared text, Mr. Vijayabhaskar said, “Even the Madras High Court has observed that the strike is illegal and action should be taken against striking workers and urged them to return to work. Hence, I call upon striking workers and unions to return to work in line with the court order and withdraw this unnecessary strike. If they continue to strike and cause disturbance to the general public, the government would not hesitate to take legal action against them.”

He claimed that buses were stopped in the middle of the road at odd hours by workers in the name of strike and caused huge discomfort to women and children. “When some unions came forward to operate such buses, they were threatened as stones were pelted causing severe damage to the buses. This is strongly condemnable,” he contended.

While the government was considering the reasonable demands of transport workers, it was “disheartening” to note that workers were resorting to strike “despite the government accepting their demands” over revision of pay, Mr. Vijayabhaskar claimed.

Though 23 rounds of talks were held during the past 16 months, a consensus could not be achieved over the renewal of contract and revision of pay. The agreement signed with some unions on January 4 was the “best agreement ever”, the Minister claimed. “Though contract workers accepted these provisions, some unions are deliberately misguiding the workers.”

The Minister said payment to the tune of ₹1,400 crore that was pending for over 15 years were paid this year. Since 2011, payments to the tune of ₹ 8,988 crore were made under various payments, he claimed.