In many districts, however, more than 90 per cent of the state-run and corporation-run buses stayed off the roads, leaving daily commuters and long-distance travellers stranded.
"The new wage structure had the highest revision proposed with a minimum of Rs2,684 and a maximum of Rs11,361. hope the employees get back to work", the minister said.
The court said it was the duty of the state to ensure and protect the rights of its citizens during such circumstances.
The workers could face suspension or dismissal if they don't resume work.
Drivers and conductors of various state transport corporations including the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC), Chennai-based Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) and State Express Transport Corporations (SETC), launched an indefinite strike on Thursday evening after talks with transport minister MR Vijayabaskar regarding salary hikes failed. "They have no money to prove a reasonable hike to transport workers", he said.
The court said recourse to lightning strikes without notice leads to the effect of denying the citizens of their right to free movement and is "clearly illegal and against public interest".
In a press release, the transport unions said in the past 16 months, they held 21 discussions with the State government on various issues, including a wage increase. "It is the highest increase in the wages compared to the previous settlements".
The trade unions had been demanding to increase the wages for 2.57 multiplication factor, while the government allegedly offered to rise it to 2.41 multiplication factor. He said, "Thirty employees refused to accept the agreement".
CITU leader A Sounderrajan, who took part in the talks with the government yesterday, said "not even 10 per cent" of the buses were being operated across Tamil Nadu. Over 10 trade unions are on a strike pressing for wage revision and several other demands. Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami chaired a meeting to take stock of the situation, as opposition parties, including the DMK and the Left, urged the government to end the impasse.