Published On : Thu, Jul 7th, 2016

Great Indian Railway may come to a standstill from July 11 as unions call strike

Great Indian Railway Strike
The Great Indian Railway is likely to come to a standstill as major unions of railway employees, including National Federation of Indian Railwaymen, All India Railwaymen’s Federation etc, have given a call for an indefinite strike from July 11 to protest against the unilateral announcement of the Central Government on implementation of 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations.

The trade unions claimed the recommended pay hike was the lowest in the last 70 years. They have accused the Government of announcing the awards “unilaterally” without any consultation with them. RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and other trade unions have rejected the recommendations, contending that it would increase disparity between the minimum and maximum pay.

The unions said that If the Government failed to address the charter of demands submitted by them then the strike is imminent. The unions had last month expanded the scope of their protest by including a key reform initiative of the Railway Ministry in their agenda — the award of contracts for new locomotive factories to foreign firms. The unions were demanding improving the minimum wage to around Rs 26,000 and rejecting all the “retrograde” recommendations of the pay panel. Another major demand is to restore the Old Pension Scheme for railway workers in view of harsh working conditions.

Following is the charter of demands of railway employees:
1. Improve minimum wage of Rs. 18,000 and multiplying factor. Reject all retrograde recommendations of VII CPC.
2. Scrap New Pension Scheme (NPS) and restore old pension scheme to be made applicable to those employed on & after 1.1.2004.
3. Settle NFIR’s Charter of Demands submitted to the Government and Ministry of Railways on 24.12.2013, 28.01.2014, 03.07.2014, 07.07.2014, 11.09.2015 & 10.12.2015 which include removal of anomalies of VI CPC, implementation agreements reached for merger of Technicians, grant up-gradation of Apex Group ‘C’ posts to Group ‘B’ Gazetted replacement of Pay Band & GP of various categories, removal of salary calculation ceiling for ensuring payment of PLB on actual wages, grant of parity in case of stenographers with those working in Central Secretariat Services, reduction of duty hours, improvement in Railway Quarters, Medical facilities, creation of New Posts for New Assets/Services without insisting on matching surrender etc., Ensure career improvement of Safaiwalas/Safaiwalis in Railways SPAD definition to be reviewed to prevent harassment of victimization of Running & Safety staff, Absorption of Quasi-Administrative Units/Offices Staff against GP Rs. 1800/- (PB-I), Setting up of multi-disciplinary training institute to impart training in rail related electronic technologies to the wards of Railway employees, Induct Course Completed Act Apprentices against Safety vacancies etc.
4. Scrap report of Bibek Debroy Committee & implement positive recommendations of High Poser Committee (Running & Safety).
5. Recall FDI notification of Government of India dated 22nd August, 2014 in construction, operation & maintenance of Indian Railways and scrap all agreements entered into with foreign Companies as well as National Companies which are detrimental to the interests of Railways & Nation.
6. Stop anti-worker amendments of labour laws.
7. Injustice done to Railway Employees like Technicians, Technical Supervisors, Loco and Traffic Running Staff, Operating Staff, Medical categories etc., in respect of allotment of 7th CPC Pay Matrix levels and promotional scope should be done away with and justice administered.
8. Ensure parity in pay structure & promotional scope for common categories with those working in the Central Secretariat/Ministries.
9. Retain existing allowance/advances.
10. (a) Constitute Joint Committees at each Ministry/Departmental level to resolve the VII CPC anomalies/aberrations/injustices within the prescribed time frame, empowering them to resolve.
(b) Set up National Joint Committee to discuss and resolve VII CPC anomalies/aberrations/injustices within the prescribed time frame.
11. Ensure payment of P.L. Bonus at the rate of Rs. 7000/- p.m. for the year 2014-15 as was done in October, 2008 when the salary calculation limit was revised from Rs.2500/- to Rs.3500/- p.m.

Following is charter of demands of National Joint Council Association (NJCA) of Central Government employees:
1. Settle the issues raised by the NJCA on the recommendations of the 7th CPC sent to Cabinet Secretary vide letter dated 10th December 2015.
2. Remove the injustice done in the assignment of pay scales to technical/safety categories etc., in Railways & Defence, different categories in other Central Government establishments by the 7th CPC.
3. Scrap the PFRDA Act and NPS and grant Pension/Family Pension to all CG employees under CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972 & Railways Pension Rules, 1993.
4. i) No privatization/outsourcing/contractorisation of governmental functions
ii) Treat GDS as Civil Servants and extend proportional benefit on pension and allowances to the GDS.
5. No FDI in Railways & Defence; No corporatization of Defence Production Units and Postal Department.
6. Fill up all vacant posts in the government departments, lift the ban on creation of posts; Regularise the casual/contract workers.
7. Remove ceiling on compassionate ground appointments.
8. Extend the benefit of Bonus Act, 1965 amendment on enhancement of payment ceiling to the adhoc Bonus/PLB of Central Government with the effect from the Financial year 2014-15.
9. Ensure five promotions in the service career of an employee.
10. Do not amend Labour Laws in the name of Labour reforms which will take away the existing benefits to the workers.
11. Revive JCM functioning at all levels.