Chennai sources have stated that a major controversy broke out on Wednesday after Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami tabled a bill in the Assembly that paves way for nearly doubling the salary of MLAs, evoking Opposition from DMK, which questioned the "timing" citing the ongoing strike by transport employees.
Trade union leaders leading the agitation of the transport workers were the first to deplore the government's move. The employees are in fact set to intensify protests after the state government issued notices to almost 60,000 workers for abstaining from work on 5 and 6 January, reports The Times of India.
When the bill was tabled at the Assembly, DMK's whip Chakarapani opposed it saying that his party did not agree to the idea of a hike in the present situation. The DMK working president MK Stalin, who led the opposition boycott of assembly proceedings on Monday, made it clear that the government has no right to continue in power after having lost its majority.
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The bill proposes that the salary of the state's 235 legislators be raised from Rs 55,000 to Rs 1.05 lakh per month at a time when it has refused a salary hike demanded by striking state by transport employees bus workers, citing losses incurred by the state transport corporations.
Vijayabhaskar said the protesting employees should accept the revised wage package announced by the government, call off their strike and return to work considering the plight of the public. Drivers belonging to as many as 17 trade unions affiliated to the Left parties and to the DMK.
"Despite severe cash crunch, we are ready to dispense salary increase of 2.44%". The agitating unions have been demanding a 2.57% hike in wages. The court also directed the state government to address the grievances of the employees and pay them their dues immediately. The court also said that none of the striking workers can be terminated from service without the permission of the court.