HC-appointed arbitrator junks transport workers’ demand

Chennai: A Madras High Court-appointed arbitrator has called the state’s transport corporation employees demand of revising wage by applying 2.57 multiplying factor instead of 2.44 as unjustified.

Justice S Manikumar

The report of Justice E Padmanabhan, a retired judge of the court appointed to adjudicate the dispute over the quantum of wage revision, was submitted before a bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice M Govindaraj today.

Notably, the employees had gone on an indefinite strike since January 3 pressing their demand for wage revision. They had rejected the wage settlement proposed by the state government on January 4 by applying the 2.44 factor, insisting on 2.57 only.

The matter was later taken to the high court.

However, they withdrew their strike on January 11 firstly by citing the impending harvest festival of ‘Pongal’ and then after the high court appointed Justice Padmanabhan as the arbitrator to settle their dispute with the government.

Justice Padmanabhan in his report said the demand for applying the multiplying factor of “2.57 instead of 2.44 is not at all justified and deserves to be negatived”.

“The workmen had already been conferred with the benefits in terms of the settlement dated January 4 which factually worked out equal to applying the factor 2.57 and no further benefit or claims needed to be conferred on them”, the retired judge has said in his report.

Reading out the operative portion of the report, the bench has now posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.

Also, passing interim orders on a batch of contempt petitions from retired transport employees seeking settlement of their dues, the bench directed the transport corporations to disburse the dues before April 14 this year.

“We make it clear that extension of time will not be granted,” the bench added.