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The Madras High Court on Monday directed the Tamil Nadu government not to terminate striking transport employees from service without its permission.
The first bench, headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, made it clear that no striking worker can be terminated from service without the leave of the court.
It, however, declined to vacate its interim order passed on a PIL filed in this regard on January 5.
Taking a serious view of the strike, the court had said workers should get back to work or "face consequences," including termination and contempt of court.
The public interest litigation (PIL) petition sought a direction to the state government to convene a meeting with workers on strike and find a solution.
The matter pertains to the strike called by certain transport unions across Tamil Nadu over wage-related issues.
After recording the submissions of workers, the bench said that in no way can the staff be denied their legitimate dues, particularly those already deducted from their wages.
The court said it expected the state government to clear dues immediately by taking loans or through other means.
However, it declined to accept the trade unions' contention that the stir was not a "flash strike"
"None of the government authorities or even the transport minister are affected by the strike. Only the middle and poor class people who depend on public transport are affected," it observed.
"Transport workers are entitled to their legitimate dues, but people cannot be inconvenienced through such strikes," it said.
The strike entered fifth day today.