The three-day transport strike in Tamil Nadu by 10 unions was tonight withdrawn following an agreement reached on various issues in talks between them and the government. Among others, the government assured the unions that it would immediately disburse Rs 1,250 crore towards clearing various pending dues, besides settling dues of pensioners by September. The government was represented by school education minister K A Sengottaiyan, electricity minister P Thangamani, and transport minister M R Vijayabhaskar. The transport unions were represented by the DMK-backed Labour Progressive Front and CITU, among others. "The government will be disbursing Rs 1,250 crore to clear pending dues and wage revision talks will be held on May 24," Vijayabhaskar told reporters. LPF general secretary M Shanmugham said the strike was being withdrawn following the assurances from the government. He said the government has assured the unions that the strike period would be counted as leave days and that no action would be taken against those who participated in the strike. The AIADMK-backed Anna Workers Federation leader R Chinnaswamy thanked Chief Minister K Palniswami for the release of Rs 1,250 crore to clear outstanding dues. Earlier, the Madurai bench of Madras High Court had directed the striking trade unions of the state transport corporations to resume work immediately to ensure resumption of the public transport service. It had said if members of the unions failed to resume work, then the government should take necessary action against them under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and take disciplinary and penal actions against violators of the Act. The bench had given the order on a plea by one Senthil Kumariah against the indefinite strike by 10 trade unions of Tamil Nadu Government Transport Corporation, which commenced on Sunday. The state government had held five rounds of talks earlier with the unions on a range of issues, including pending post-retirement benefits. The government had put in place alternative plans to clear the rush of passengers with private buses pressed into service in Chennai and other parts of the state. Temporary drivers were also being deployed to ferry passengers. Southern Railway had also operated extra services connecting Chennai and many other cities of the state, besides increasing the number of trips on suburban routes here.
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