Leaders of TASMAC liquor shop workers unions were arrested along with workers on Wednesday when they tried to hold a demonstration in front of the District Collectorate as part of a one-day strike to highlight their demands.

Forty of them have been remanded to judicial custody.

While a senior government official maintained that 6,500 of the 6,700 liquor shops remained open, P.S. Soundarapandian, State secretary of the union affiliated to the AITUC, alleged that officials broke open the shops with the help of the police.

“In the morning 80 per cent of the shops remained closed. Later, officials opened the shops and ran the business with the help of the police,” he said.

K. Thiruselvan, deputy general secretary of the union affiliated to the CITU, said 70 per cent of the workers participated in the strike and the government deputed revenue officials to run the shops.

Government officials claimed that 90 per cent of the workers rejected the strike call. Those who were arrested included Mr. Soundarapandian, S. Jayaprakasan, vice-president of the union affiliated to the CITU, and Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai secretary R. Chinnasamy.

The workers are demanding regularisation of services, minimum wages and other benefits on a par with the State government employees.