Rail unions plan 1974-style strike

Rail unions plan 1974-style strike

By NAVTAN KUMAR | NEW DELHI | 28 February, 2016
The prospect of a 1974-type strike is hovering over Indian Railways, which may have a deleterious effect on the economy, apart from inconveniencing passengers immeasurably. In 1974, the All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) led by labour leader George Fernandes had gone on a 20-day strike, thus crippling the Railways. Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, AIRF general secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra said different railway unions are planning to go on an indefinite strike from 11 April as the government is not paying heed to their demands.
“A strike ballot was conducted among AIRF members on 11-12 February, in which 95% of them voted in favour of a strike. A similar ballot was conducted among National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) members, in which an overwhelming 96% favoured going for a strike. Therefore, we are planning to go on an indefinite strike from 11 April,” Mishra said. 
The three major railway unions are NFIR, which is affiliated to Congress’ trade union arm INTUC; AIRF, which is not affiliated to any particular party but is dominated by socialists; and Bhartiya Railway Mazdoor Sangh (BRMS), which is not affiliated to any party but is dominated by right-wing leaders
The total strength of Railway employees is 13.20 lakh. AIRF has a membership of 9.86 lakh, while NFIR has around 9 lakh membership. BRMS has 2 lakh members. There is a provision of dual membership in Indian Railways.
The unions are against the minimum wage of Rs 18,000 as suggested by the Seventh Pay Commission. They want it to be increased to Rs 26,000. They are opposed to the slashing of HRA from 7.5% to 3%. The unions are also opposed to the new pension policy, which envisages investing pension funds into the share market, which according to them, has led to a sense of insecurity among the employees.
Mishra, who is also the convenor of the National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), said: “So far we have maintained our patience. But the government is not listening to our problems. There is a total communication gap with the government and therefore, we have no other option left but to go on a strike.”
“Keeping in view the results of the strike ballot, a notice for the strike will be served to the respective general managers on 11 March, in case the government does not resolve our genuine demands. This will be the biggest strike by Railway employees, the responsibility for which would be on Government of India,” added Mishra.
Mishra said that he has approached the BRMS as well seeking support. When contacted, BRMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyaya said, “Though there have not been any formal talks with AIRF and NFIR, we will extend our support to the strike. There are a lot of issues related to railway workers which the government has failed to address. We have been fighting for the cause of railway workers and, therefore, will support the strike, if it happens.”
Asked whether he has discussed the issue with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Mishra said: “We have no problems with the Railway Minister. He talks to us on a regular basis. But the Finance Ministry and Personnel Ministry are not listening to us. We are responsible people and do not want the strike as it will affect the economy and cause inconvenience to the people. We did not go for a strike in the last 41 years. But now our patience is running out.”

There are 3 Comments

Hapless passengers and public will not know if all these railway employees are not to be paid as per latest pay commsssion recommendations.If yes then why strike? Govt should invoke public utility act and sack these guys and should recruit new employees.

OK there should be hike , but they have to do their responsibility with out fail , Now see if a parcel arrives and if I go to collect that the rail freight will be 130 or 150 , but have to pay 250 or 500 , and worst thing is if we have person to lift and load that parcel we can't do that , they anly loading and charging 1500 rs many times more than railway freight , if some one opposes this and Tries to do any action he only becomes noted person and in future he have to ready for so many problems ..... All this things have to be resolved

The Rly Minister & Rly Board chairman can perhaps agree for the followings in Railways during their negotiations with Rlymen’s authorized reps. At the same time they should also be ready to face boldly the Rly strike as and when it is precipitated by a few Rly workmen. (1). Minimum wage to be Rs.20000/- p.m. (2). Recruitment of more loco pilots & asst.loco pilots as per actual situational needs after fresh reviews. (3). Improving houses repairs/maintenance facilities in thousands of Rly Quarters in difft.Rly colonies (4). HRA – 5% (5). New Pension Policy – Optional . (6). No implementation of 7th PC recommendations for two years due to distressing financials of Railways. If finances improve earlier, suitable earlier interim payments can be thought of. (6). Rly employees will get henceforth only one LTC(Rly Pass) each per year besides one PTO only annually. This is by way of elimination of past irrational unfair perks given in Railways all these years – super special,extra-liberal facilities which don’t exist in any other public/private organization in the country.(7). . Railway employees also to pay from April onwards Rly reservation charges, superfast charges, any surcharges payable, cancellation charges etc.as paid by crores of Rly travelers. (8). Past unethical; unfair labour practices in Railways will be discontinued from April/May onwards.

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