GUWAHATI, Dec 26 – The NF Railway Mazdoor Union’s general secretary Rakhal Das Gupta has asked railwaymen to prepare themselves for another countrywide strike after a strike ballot ratified the decision, an NF Railway press release here stated. It may be noted that the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), having given deep thought to the state-of-affairs and the plight of the long-pending major issues of the Railwaymen, had decided, after detailed deliberations, in its General Council Meeting, held in New Delhi on September 9 last, to conduct a strike ballot on December 20-21. The 89th annual convention of the AIRF, held at Patna on November 22-24 last, also took stock of the situation, and after thorough discussions, ratified the decision taken in the General Council Meeting of the AIRF.
Complying with the above decision of the AIRF, a strike ballot was conducted throughout the Indian Railways on December 20-21 wherein Railwaymen took part with full enthusiasm and zeal. Approximately 95% Railwaymen, members of AIRF, voted in favour of strike. The NF Railway Mazdoor Union being an affiliate of the AIRF conducted the ballot from December 19-21, where 97.72 % Railwaymen and members voted in favour of the strike.
According to the Indian Railway Establishment Manual, ballot should be taken from the members before going for withdrawal of labour (strike). There should be three-fourth majority in support of the strike. In NF Railway all the 49 branches of NF Railway Mazdoor Union spread from Katihar to Dibrugarh, Silchar to Murkongselek conducted the strike ballot and after completion of counting the ballot it was found that the railwaymen, agitated over the non-timely fulfilment of their major issues, as enlisted in the 36-point ‘Charter of Demands’, showing their anguish broadly cast their votes in favour of the strike. Thus, AIRF’s stand to launch direct trade union action to press upon the Government of India and Ministry of Railways on the 36-point ‘Charter of Demands’, has been proved to be fully justified, as revealed from the results of the strike ballot, the release added.
Looking at the overwhelming support to the strike, the AIRF will now take stock of the situation, and the president of the AIRF, Umraomal Purohit, who is also secretary, Staff Side (National Council/Joint consultative machinery), will consult other constituents of the NC/JCM in regard to the future course of action as well as dates etc., in case Government of India and Ministry of Railways does not take appropriate action to resolve the issues.
The 36-point ‘Charter of Demands’ of the Railwaymen mainly comprise the following issues – filling up of vacancies, sanction of additional posts commensurate with additional workload, stopping of the outsourcing of jobs which are perennial in nature, restoration of Old Pension Scheme and scrapping of the New Pension Scheme, appointment of 7th CPC, removal of anomalies of 6th CPC and MACP Scheme, removal of ceiling of PLB, implementation of unanimous recommendation of Joint Committee on the Trackman, merger of Technician Gr II with Gr I, provision of GP of Rs 4800 to all the supervisory staff, upgradation of apex level Group ‘C’ posts to ‘B’, merger of GP Rs 2400 with GP Rs 2800, treatment of 100% Casual Labour Service as “Regular Service” for pensionary benefits, extension of scope of LARSGESS irrespective of category and grade pay, recruitment of wards of Railwaymen in the Railways, absorption of quasi-administrative offices staff in the Railways, redress of grievances of the Accounts and Ministerial Staff and Loco & Traffic Running Staff, Traffic Operating, Shunting & Yard Staff, etc.