Tamil Nadu: EPS tables MLAs salary hike bill, DMK and Dinakaran oppose

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DMK working president MK Stalin said, "People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike demanding salary hike".

The Tamil Nadu Payment of Salaries (Amendment) Bill proposes to increase the monthly salary and other allowances paid to every MLA in Tamil Nadu to Rs 1.05 lakh from Rs 55,000 presently.

The Tamil Nadu government is willing to increase the wage of transport workers by 2.44 times, but the workers who are on an indefinite strike want a 2.57 time hike.

The announcement regarding the salary hike was made by Chief Minister Palaniswami a year ago in July and Palaniswami today tabled the bill regarding the same in the Assembly.

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Tamil Nadu has over 22,000 buses with a workforce of about 143,000 employees and over 10 rounds of talks have been held between the trade unions and government representatives, including transport minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar.

The ruling AIADMK and the principal opposition DMK engaged in a heated exchange in the State Assembly over the issue of the ongoing transport workers strike.

If the bill is passed it will come into effect from Thursday even as the state reels under a crippling strike for a week by transport workers for better wages.

The striking workers ignored yet another plea of the transport minister to return to work.

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"Protests would continue in front of Tamil Nadu Labour Welfare Board offices across the state of Tamil Nadu", said Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader A. Soundarrajan. I kindly request the workers to immediately resume work.

Bus services across Tamil Nadu have taken a huge blow, leaving passengers stranded in the state.

The Madras High Court had on Monday refused to lift its January 5 interim order restraining the employees from going on a strike but directed the government not to dismiss them from service without its permission.

Union minister of state Pon Radhakrishnan, talking to reporters in Nagercoil, wanted both the government and unions to find a solution to the problem of wage revision by "ceding their stand without standing on prestige".

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