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Even though trade unions affiliated to the ruling party did not strike work, most of the buses were parked in all the nine depots in the district.

Claiming that they had not received the court order, the unions, which have rejected the wage increase proposed by the government, said they would present their case properly before the court on Monday.

Further, seven unions joined the strike today, taking the number to 17, he told reporters here.

As the strike entered the second day on Friday crippling operation of the eight transport corporation running about 21,000 buses, the first bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee ordered the workers to resume work or face the effect including termination and contempt of court.

The bench said it was the duty of the state to ensure and protect rights of its citizens during such circumstances.

Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain transport unions, the Madras High Court on Friday said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court. In a joint statement, workers unions said the government had held 21 rounds of talks with them in the last 16 months but had not been able to come to a decision on the wage revision issue. "But workers have gone on strike causing inconvenience to the public", he said. If the government takes action, the employees must face it.

Meanwhile, the Southern Railway, in an official release, said, "It is made a decision to operate weekday services instead of weekend reduced services in Chennai Beach-Tambaram and MRTS suburban sector to accommodate extra rush in view of the strike".

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Meanwhile, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president M.K. Stalin spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy over the telephone and expressed concern over the ongoing transport strike, urging the government to expedite talks with the unions.

Buses were being operated in some parts of the state with temporary drivers and conductors.

Arguing on behalf of the state government, counsel Vijay Narayan said that a wage agreement had been signed with the workers.

Tamilnadu has a fleet of 22,500 buses, with 1.4 lakh workers in the State's employment.

The government has invited those possessing valid driving licences to approach local bus depots to be used as substitute drivers.

Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop. Across the state, 90% of the state and corporation run buses went off the roads due to which daily passengers and long distance travellers stranded and felt helpless.


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