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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Transport Trade Unions call-off strike in Tamil Nadu

Chennai’s economic development is tied to its port and transport infrastructure. The transportation requirement of the city residents are met by extensive public transport system.  In Chennai, you have the famous Central and Egmore Railway stations and then there are different train routes of sub-urban lines – Madras Beach – Ponneri/Gummidipoondi; Central to Thiruvallur / Arakonam; Beach to Tambaram/Chingleput EMU and the MRTS running between Beach to VElachery – there are thousands of two-wheelers, cars, college / office operated buses, vans, auto-rickshaws, share autos, call taxis and more …………. Yet a vast majority of people depend on bus for commuting.

The bus service in the City,  is run by the government-owned Metropolitan Transport Corporation which extends to the city and its suburbs. This service is generally considered efficient and buses run on time.  Many of us would remember “PTC” – the Pallavan Transport Corporation as it was known earlier. PTC was established way back in 1972 with a fleet strength of 1029 buses. Then it was bifurcated into Pallavan and Dr Ambedkar Transport Corpn in 1994. Year 1997 saw their renaming as MTC Chennai division 1 & 2 then amalgamated in 2001.  Then there was -   Pallavan, Cheran,  Chozhan, Pandian – no not of the dynasties that ruled; nor Thiruvalluvar, Mahakavi Bharatiyar, Dheeran Chinnamalai, Marudhu Pandiar, Kattabomman, Rani Mangammal, to Rajiv Gandhi and more………..– all names of erstwhile transport Corporations in the State. Now within the city extending upto its suburbs is Metropolitan Transport Corporation and within the State and to neighbouring States, it is State Express Transport Corporation. 

In the last 3 days of  2014, the common man suffered in getting to their workplace and in travelling within the State as some Unions went on strike disrupting the no. of services and in some places the service itself.  Though the authorities maintained that buses were running (they were !) but at much reduced frequency. 

2015 has begun well and the good news for those of you who travel by bus to Office is that - transport trade unions called off their strike on Wednesday, bringing relief to lakhs of commuters after the government agreed to form a committee to discuss wage revision. The decision was taken at a meeting between Transport Minister V Senthil Balaji and leaders of 11 unions including the Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and CITU, at the Secretariat yesterday.

The government agreed to constitute a tripartite committee for conducting negotiations on wage revision. The committee, to be headed by the Transport Minister and to consist of representatives from the Revenue and Transport Departments, is expected to be formed in two days. 

According to Unions, the State government has agreed to release the transport employees, who took part in the protest for the past four days and were arrested.  According to the union leaders, around 22,000 protestors have been detained across the State and nearly 3,000 in Chennai.

So tomorrow it should be ‘back to business in normal manner’. it is stated that the DMK sponsored Union LPF has submitted a letter on Tuesday stating that it did not have any problem in inviting other unions for the talks. According to officials, the strike could have been averted, had the LPF given the letter earlier.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

1st Jan 2015.

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