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Unilateral decision a disappointment to workers, says Vasan

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, OCT. 13. The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president, G.K. Vasan, today criticised the State Government for its suo moto announcement of 8.33 per cent bonus and 1.67 per cent ex gratia for the employees of transport corporations, the Electricity Board and the Civil Supplies Corporation.

In a statement, Mr. Vasan said the Government should have initiated talks with trade unions before making the announcement. Its unilateral decision was a disappointment to thousands of workers.

Condemning the Government's alleged threat that it would invoke TESMA (Tamil Nadu Essential Services Maintenance Act) if the workers resorted to strike, Mr. Vasan said such threats would not cow down the working class. If the Government took any such move, opposition parties would join the workers and launch a joint struggle, he said.

Mixed reaction

Several workers' unions expressed their satisfaction over the Government's announcement. The Tamil Nadu Consumer Cooperative Employees Federation, appealed to sanction bonus without any salary ceiling. The National Organisation of Government Employees while welcoming the decision, appealed for early release of 9 per cent dearness allowance with arrears to the government employees. The Tamil Nadu Arasu Aluvalar Kazhagam (C & D Group) expressed hope that the State Government would restore all concessions to the employees.

However, the Tamilnadu Electricity Board Workers' Progressive Union condemned the suo motu announcement. It fell short of their requirement and the workers would not accept it, the union said.

Ramadoss condemns

The Pattali Makkal Katchi founder, S. Ramadoss, today criticised the Government's announcement of a bonus package.

In a statement, he said trade unions should have been called for talks. Noting that an 8.33 per cent bonus was due to the employees, he said the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, had allowed only an additional 1.67 per cent as ex gratia.

Till 2001, these employees were getting 8.33 per cent bonus and 11.67 per cent ex gratia though the transport corporations were running on loss.

Had the Government managed a turnaround in their performance, as claimed by the Chief Minister, then the employees should have been paid a 30 per cent bonus and ex gratia, Dr. Ramadoss said.

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