AIRF contemplates Indefinite Railways Strike over reluctant attitude of Government to consider demands of Railway and Central Government Employees
Following is the extract of the article published in Governancenow.in based press release issued by AIRF
Unhappy with the government’s continued indifference to a slew of demands, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), one of the largest central government employees’ unions, has decided to start the process of calling an indefinite railways strike.And, if the said process comes to a successful conclusion, the country will be faced with the first major strike after the one called by George Fernandes as the AIRF president in 1974, following which the Emergency was declared.“The reluctant attitude of the government of India and ministry of railways has forced the AIRF to take the decision to launch the campaign for preparation of the strike under the leadership of comrade Umraomal Purohit, the president of AIRF,” a press release from the AIRF issued in June 29 said.“We are in consultation with other central government employees associations and once everyone comes on board we will call for general body council meeting where the decision to go on strike will be taken,” Shiva Gopal Mishra, the general secretary, AIRF, told Governance Now.The entire process, according to Mishra, could take three to four months, and in case the government does not intervene, the said strike could take place in October this year.The AIRF had listed its demands in its 88th annual general meeting (AGM) held in Vishakhapatnam in December last year and sent it to the government. “It’s been months since the list of demand was sent for action, but to no avail,” said Mishra.The demand included among others: filling up all the vacant posts; stop outsourcing of perennial jobs, scrap the new pension schemes; implementation of the cadre restructuring committee; upgrade in the technician’s grade, improvement of pay scales of running staff and clearance of arrears.The 88th AGM held by the AIRF in Visakhapatnam, December last year had flagged off following concerns of the railways employees.Vacant posts: Despite representations at all levels, more than 2.5 lakh posts in different categories of the Indian Railways are lying vacant for an indefinite period.Additional Posts: To meet the public demand, new trains are being introduced and new assets are being created, but additional posts are not being created on the plea of matching saving not being available. All these have put extra burden to all the categories of staff.Outsourcing of jobs: Perennial nature jobs in thousands are being outsourced, violating the provisions of the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970. Contract labours are being exploited in the matter of wages, working hours etc, and they have no service security.New Pension Scheme: New Pension Scheme has been introduced from January 2004 despite opposition from the AIRF. This has reduced the wages of the persons appointed on or after January 1, 2004 by 10% than their counterparts appointed earlier.Grievance Mechanism: All grievance mechanisms have been made ineffective. Meetings are not being held at regular intervals and whenever held, even the agreed decisions are not being implemented.Cadre Restructuring: The reports of cadre restructuring committee have not been implemented.Medical facilities: Medical facilities are too inadequate. There is acute shortage of medical and paramedical staff. Staff is being compelled to seek outside medical assistance, however medical reimbursement is being denied.Welfare Schemes: Various welfare schemes announced by the earlier minister for Railways for the benefit of railway employees, their wards and families, have also not seen the light of the day.