"People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike demanding salary hike", said DMK working president MK Stalin.
CITU leader A Soundarrajan on Thursday night had announced that the indaefinite strike was being "temporarily" called off. The strikers agreed to the State Govt.'s proposal to increase their pay via 2.44 times hike formula and called off the strike. However, it refused to accept the transporters' other demands - that the government should pay transport workers wages for the strike period and drop all criminal cases against them.
"The strike is being temporarily withdrawn keeping in mind the welfare of the people of the state", he added.
Soundararajan said the unions will put forth before the arbitrator their arguments on the 2.44 factor.
One of the unions taking part in the strike is the DMK's Labour Progressive Front (LPF). "This strike is being suspended". Expressing displeasure over the continuing impasse, the bench adjourned the hearing to Thursday, leaving it to the "conscience" of the trade unions to decide as to whether or not resume work at least for five days, in view of Pongal. He alleged that the authorities were putting the public at risk by recruiting temporary drivers to operate government buses.
The court had earlier asked the workers to resume work or face the consequences, even as it had restrained the government from initiating action against them.
On Monday, the Madras high court directed the state government not to terminate any of the striking employees without its permission. The transport union has been demanding the minimum pay of Rs.19, 500 and for the government to settle dues for employees who have been in retirement since 2013.
It declined to agree to the request of the unions to refer the correctness and validity of the alleged settlement of January 4 as one of the terms of reference.