Taking a big decision to pacify the strike of transport workers, the Tamil Nadu Government has decided to release a huge amount of Rs.750 crore. Giving the assurance that all the dues of transport workers will be cleared, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami urged the agitators to withdraw the seven-day-old agitation.
Speaking in the State Assembly, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said the amount would be given before the Pongal festival (January 14) and it would benefit those who retired up to November 30, 2017 as settlement of the pending dues is one of the key demands of the striking workers.
Palaniswami recalled the State Government’s various sops, including diesel subsidy and financial assistance of Rs.5,138.57 crore, given between 2011 and 2017, to the state-run transport corporations, whose poor financial health has been cited as a reason for the pending dues.
Expressing relief, the Chief Minister said, “I am happy to announce that the Amma (late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa) Government will provide Rs.750 crore towards the pending (dues) for those who retired up to November 30, 2017. This will be provided before the Pongal festival.” “Therefore, with most of the demands of the transport corporation staff having been accepted, the workers should immediately withdraw their strike in the interest of the people and return to work,” he appealed.
“With the said amount, the Government had so far disbursed Rs.2,147.39 crore towards retirement benefits for the transport employees,” he said.
The employees owing allegiance to 17 trade unions, including those affiliated to the DMK and the Left, have been on an indefinite strike since January 4 after talks related to wage agreement issues with the government failed.
While the government has offered an increase in the wages by 2.44 times, the unions are demanding a 2.57-time hike.