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Earlier in the morning, Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar said that no further talks will be held and requested the striking unions to get back to work.

Tamil Nadu Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar on 6 January appealed to striking bus employees to return to work.

Taking a serious view of the strike called by certain transport unions, the Madras High Court said the workers should get back to work or "face consequences", including termination and contempt of court.

'Those who don't come to work and cause hardship to the public must face the consequences, ' the court told the drivers. "We have chose to continue the strike and approach the Supreme Court as early as possible", said CITU chief A Soundarajajan, who held a meeting with union leaders after the court directive.

High court first bench headed by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee said workers could not resort to such flash strikes without any prior intimation, causing trouble to public.

"The alternative measures that are being taken by the government will only worsen the problem".

Transport union leaders said they will challenge the court order, which they said is one-sided as they were not heard.

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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".

DMK working president MK Stalin urged chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami to end the imbroglio by holding talks with the unions and giving them a "good Pongal gift".

K. Natarajan, treasurer, Labour Progressive Federation, said only 10% of the fleet of 22,000 buses in the entire eight State transport corporations were operated on Friday. Despite financial constraints of transport corporations a wage revision providing for 2.44 times increase in basic pay and once in three years revision was signed on Thursday.

The state's AIADMK government hired temporary drivers and roped in private bus service operators. The government is using ruling party members (drivers) to run the buses. The strike began on Thursday evening when many bus drivers in Chennai were seen abandoning their buses between 5pm and 8 pm.

Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop.

In the capital city, Chennai, a stone pelting incident has occurred at a bus depot.


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