Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Tamil Nadu PSU Workers Protest Unilateral Bonus Announcement

The public sector workers had demanded a bonus of 25%.
Tamil Nadu PSU Workers Protest Unilateral Bonus Announcement

The DMK government’s unilateral announcement of the festival bonus for the state public sector undertakings (PSUs) has irked the workers. Around 2.87 lakh class C and D workers of the transport, electricity, marketing corporation, metro, water and tea plantation corporation will receive 8.33% bonus and 1.67% ex-gratia.

The trade unions of transport, electricity and marketing corporation held flash protests condemning the announcement of the state government and demanded a 25% bonus. The trade unions refrained from striking work considering the ensuing festival season. 


A day after chief minister MK Stalin made the bonus announcement, the workers of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) held protests across the state at all the bus depots in the early hours of October 25, disrupting public transport services.

“All the workers, in spite of their political and trade union affiliations, have opposed the decision of the state government. Much like the previous AIADMK dispensation, the DMK government also did not hold any talks with the trade unions on bonus,” said Arumuga Nainar, general secretary, TNSTC Employees Union, which is affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

The All India Trade Union Centre, Anna Thozhil Sanga Peravai of AIADMK, Hind Mazdoor Sabha and other trade unions have opposed the government announcement as well. 

Transport workers held demonstrations in bus depots during the early hours of October 25.

Transport workers held demonstrations in bus depots during the early hours of October 25.

The DMK in its election manifesto had promised to restore the pension scheme implemented by the DMK government in 1998, which was withdrawn by the AIADMK in 2003. “The workers were expecting a solution from the new government as per their election manifesto—but they feel dejected by its actions,” Nainar said. 


The employees of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) criticised the bonus announcement, which doesn’t apply to contract workers. “The state government has announced a 10% bonus without even consulting the trade unions,” the Central Organisation of Tamil Nadu Electricity Employees (COTEE) had said in a press release. The coordination committee of the trade unions in TANGEDCO protested in Chennai on October 25 demanding a 25% bonus.

Coordination committee of trade unions in TANGEDCO held protest in Chennai

Coordination committee of trade unions in TANGEDCO held protest in Chennai

The workers held protests across the state, including the headquarters of TANGEDCO, in Chennai. “The workers would have accepted a bonus of 20% considering the pandemic. But 10% is far too low with the cost of living rocketing,” Jai Sankar, president, COTEE, told Newsclick


The state PSU employees were being paid a 20% bonus since 1993 but it was reduced to 10% in 2001 by the then-J Jayalalithaa. 

“The same government had to restore the 20% bonus after a massive and prolonged strike by the transport workers. The AIADMK government in 2020 cited the COVID-19 lockdown and reduced the bonus to 10%. The new government is following in the footsteps of the previous government on workers issues,” said Nainar.

Transport has been one of the sectors most affected by the policies of successive governments. The wage revision talks have been delayed since August 2019. The workers held several protests in the previous years demanding wage revision and regularisation of workers. The governments had cited the loss suffered by the PSUs as the reason for reducing the bonus, but Nainar said that “important services should not be considered as a burden”. 

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram