Trade unions in TN to unfold massive strike from Feb 25: Will buses run? Here's what you must know!

Hours after Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam had presented the interim budget for Tamil Nadu for 2021-22, several trade unions in the state had announced that they will roll out the indefinite strike from Thursday -February 25 to show their objection to the government that their demands weren't mentioned in the interim budget. 

In what would become an unprecedented development, the state-wide strike from the trade unions is expected to cause a major disruption to the normal lives as the government employees of various departments including transport would take part in the demonstration against the government, pushing the general public to brace up for the minimal or no operations of government buses. Over ten unions have announced that they will take part in the strike. 

According to reports, all the unions under the roof of Transport Corporation have called for the strike and about ten unions will be taking part in the demonstration from Thursday to draw attention from the government towards their demands. The unions have been demanding a hike in salary, confirming contract workers as permanent employees, and the government must fill up the vacancies in the transport department across the state. 

To expedite their demands and to press the government, the unions had met Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar last month and they also had negotiated with the officials towards meeting their demands. However, the talks didn't advance for an amicable resolution, and owing to the failures of talks from the government, the unions have now announced indefinite strikes from Thursday. 

As ten trade unions have unanimously issued a statement, it has been expected that the strike would attract thousands of workers from across the state, causing disruption in the movement of vehicles. In the statement, the unions said, "There is no other way than the indefinite strike to win the demands and to secure the transport unions. The employees are aware that the strike would cause disruption and inconvenience to the people, but we find no other way to meet our demands". 

"We appeal to everyone to support our strike by understanding the legitimate demands of the workers", the unions added and the statement was undersigned by the leaders of the trade unions in a bid to display that the unions are committed to going ahead with the strike until the government meets their demands. The unions further stated that the transport department has been indulging in a financial deficit and the government must fix it. 

The unions had demanded the government to fix the deficit by releasing more funds towards the transport department in the budget. But, the government fails to reserve sufficient funds in its budget and the transport department has been functioning through the savings of the employees maintained by the government. So far, the government has spent Rs 8,000 crore on the employees' savings due to which the employees are receiving low salary than other government staff. 

The unions have demanded the government to increase their salaries and confirm the contract workers as permanent employees. In the statement, the unions said their demands aren't met for the past three years which had prompted them to hold the indefinite strike across the state from Thursday. The announcement from the unions has come hours after Panneerselvam tabled the interim budget in which he said that 12,000 new buses will be acquired in the fiscal year. He didn't make any announcement concerning the demands of the trade unions. 

As the unions are prepared for the protests, the public transport won't have its fullest movement from Thursday and it has been expected that the strike would majorly disrupt the general public. The announcement from the unions had drawn major attention as it has come when the state is just two months ahead of the state assembly polls. While some reports suggest that the government would call the unions for talks on Wednesday, there were no announcements from the government to holds talks with the unions ahead of their strike.