Tamil Nadu moots pay hike for MLAs even as transport workers strike over wages

Tamil Nadu saw thousands of state transport buses staying off the roads for the seventh day in a strike called by 11 trade unions demanding a wage hike and payment of arrears

Dharani Thangavelu
Updated11 Jan 2018, 12:57 AM IST
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, in the state assembly on Tuesday, urged workers to accept the government’s offer and withdraw the strike. Photo: PTI
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, in the state assembly on Tuesday, urged workers to accept the government’s offer and withdraw the strike. Photo: PTI

Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Wednesday tabled a bill proposing a generous pay hike to legislators, even as thousands of state transport buses stayed off the roads for the seventh day in a strike called by 11 trade unions demanding a wage hike and payment of arrears.

Under the Tamil Nadu Payment of Salaries (Amendment) Bill, the monthly pay for MLAs will increase from Rs55,000 to Rs1.05 lakh, while pension will go up to Rs20,000 from Rs12,000.

Opposition parties in the state criticized the move, which comes at a time of widespread disruption in public transport.

“People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike, demanding a salary hike,” said leader of opposition and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin.

The chief minister also said in the assembly that pending dues for transport employees, who retired on or before 30 November 2017 will be paid before Pongal festival, which falls on 14 January.

He urged workers to accept the government’s offer and withdraw the strike.

Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) employees have been demanding wage hikes for over a year and clearance of arrears amounting to Rs7,543 crore, including retirement benefits and provident fund.

The striking unions want the factor for wage revision to be fixed at 2.57 times, even as the government is insisting on 2.44 times.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader A. Soundarrajan said, “Protests would continue till the government agrees to the wage revision.”

The strike intensified on Wednesday, with the family members of employees joining in the demonstrations in front of the Tamil Nadu Labour Welfare Board offices across the state.

The state government has issued notices to nearly 60,000 workers for staying off work on 5 and 6 January, The Times of India reported.

The Madras high court, which had directed the state government not to terminate the services of any of the employees who are on strike without its permission, on Wednesday urged the employees to return to work.

The Madras high court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing in cases related to Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation employees’ strike to Thursday.

PTI contributed to this story

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First Published:11 Jan 2018, 12:57 AM IST
HomePoliticsPolicyTamil Nadu moots pay hike for MLAs even as transport workers strike over wages

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