As many as 17 trade unions, including those affiliated to the DMK and Left parties, had gone on an indefinite strike after rejecting the government's proposal to hike the wages of the transport workers by 2.44 times.
Transport workers are demanding salaries on par with drivers in other state government corporations. The unions want a 2.57 times hike, but the government, after 23 rounds of talks, has agreed for a 2.44 times raise. The state transport minister had ruled out further negotiations citing huge losses incurred by government transport corporations.
"We incur a loss of Rs. 9 crore every day as we've not hiked tariff for years. We offer the cheapest travel compared to neighbouring states. The hike we've offered alone will cost an additional Rs. 1,000 crore a year," an official had said.
There are about 1.4 lakh workers in the state's transport department to handle a fleet of 22,500 buses.
According to the court order, retired judge Justice E Padmanabhan, the arbitrator appointed for this, would decide on the 2.57 times hike.
CITU leader Soundararajan said, "We have suspended the strike. The arbitrator is expected to complete in a month from the date of notification."