A section of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation employees struck work in parts of the state, a day ahead of the state-wide stir call by the transport corporations. As many as 120 government buses and 56 mofussil buses here were not operated in Thanjavur and Tiruchirapalli districts after some bus drivers went on strike following reported failure of talks with the state government over their demands, department officials said. Several passengers were stranded after the bus services were withdrawn in Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts. In Coimbatore district, some TNSTC workers refused to ply buses and returned to their depots, police said. About 100 buses in the tourist towns of Coonoor, Gudalur and nearby areas were brought to a halt. Southern Railway, in response to a request from the Chairman of Tamil Nadu Transport department,decided to operate unreserved special trains, with 15 general coaches from Coimbatore to Chennai from tomorrow. The striking workers are demanding among other things, settlement of retirement benefits and payment of operational deficit to the transport corporations. Ten major unions, including the Labour Progressive Federation (affiliated to DMK) and CITU which had called for the agitation, took part in the strike. Several rounds of talks have been held between representatives of the worker unions and Transport Minister M R Vijayabhaskar in Chennai over the past few days. Meanwhile, officials assured that government buses would run as per schedule across the state tomorrow.
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