Scrap Bibek Debroy report on Railway restructuring: say Unions

New Delhi: Angry about the recommendations of the Bibek Debroy-led panel,  Railway trade unions are planning to launch mass demostrations and large scale rallies in protest. They are also demanding scrapping of the report that recommends “privatisation in the name of liberalisation”.

“A bare perusal of the report reveals that the committee in the name of liberalisation has recommended entry of new operators into railway operations, that is, privatisation,” said Guman Singh, President of National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), which represents more than 80% of Indian Railways’ over 1.3 million workers.

The federation’s press secretary also said the unions’ brass has given clear directions to its affiliates to arrange mass demonstrations, large scale protest rallies and press conferences to express the anger of the railway employees against the recommendations of the committee.

Planning Commission member Bibek Debroy had on Friday submitted his report on the restructuring of the railway board and mobilisation of resources for railway projects to the rail ministry. He is also expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend to brief him about the recommendations.

While Debroy has recommended liberalisation of railways and sought to define liberalisation separately from privatisation in the report, he has also said that entry of private players into the system is already provided by the extant policy.

Trade unions fear any effort at bringing in private players into railway operations would jeopardise workers’ jobs and negatively impact railways’ financial health.

The Debroy panel has also recommended setting up an independent regulator, merging of the eight existing Group A railway services, rationalising of the workforce and restructuring of Indian Railways on the lines of British railways.

Unions complain Debroy did not examine the actions of successive governments in starving the railways of investments and instead blamed the workforce for its problems.

NFIR said it is not desirable to experiment with FDI and private players in infrastructure without building massive railway infrastructure first and in his euphoria for a roadmap, Debroy ignored the shortcomings of European railways including the failed privatisation model of British Railways.

“Restructuring cannot be an exercise subjected to such a ‘disastrously confused perspective’ of connecting the current state of affairs with what is desired for the future,” the union said in its comments on the report.

The other influential union, All India Railway Federation (AIRF) has also called for observing June 30 as “Black Day” in protest of the Debroy report. AIRF General Secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra termed the report as clear roadmap for privatisation and hoped its recommendations are not accepted by the government.

There are some good things in the Debroy Panel Report: AIRF

While rejecting the final report of the railway restructuring committee headed by Bibek Debroy, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) has welcomed some of its recommendations.

“We support the idea of accounting reforms. But, as far as any regulator is concerned, we want the regulator to be a tariff authority only, instead of being responsible for operations and maintenance as well,” AIRF General Secretary Shivagopal Mishra, told.

Admitting that there is departmentalism in the Railways, Mishra said a mechanism needed to be worked out to make Indian Railways work as a team.

But, the mechanism needs to be different from what has been suggested by the Bibek Debroy committee, he added.

Rail union rejects Debroy report

New Delhi: Wherever the railway system has been privatised, government subsidy to the system has increased five-six times and passenger and freight charges have also increased subsequently, Shiva Gopal Mishra, General Secretary, All India Railwaymen Federation , the largest union of Indian Railways, said in a release. In fact, British and New Zealand railway systems had to be re-nationalised, AIRF pointed out, while rejecting the interim recommendations on restructuring of the Railways by a committee headed by Bibek Debroy.

Suresh Prabhu plans to carry Trade Unions along as he seeks to modernize Railways

New Delhi:  Railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday said that employees’ unions are on board in revamping and revitalizing the decaying state-run transporter. The minister emphasized that everyone, from staff to officers of 17 zones and 68 divisions of railways across the country are working together to meet the common goal.

In an interview, the minister said that leaders of two big railway employees unions (All Indian Railwaymen Federation and National Federation of Indian Railways) have assured support in reviving railways. “I am very happy to say leaders of two big railway unions are also involved. They have said we want to work together to make railways better. We are trying to bring in transparency, improve efficiency, bring in more accountability and make management participatory. The leaders said they also want all these changes. So why do we oppose them,” Prabhu told.

Prabhu indicated that he is not in a hurry to push radical reforms that may annoy powerful unions and instead is trying to take them on board in his effort for capacity augmentation and modernization of railways. Replying to a question regarding recommendations of Debroy panel in its interim report, Prabhu said, “We have to wait for the final report. I have suggested to the committee that they should also seek views from our employees and our unions because sometimes communication gap causes misunderstanding. They also agree with that.”

On departmentalism in railways killing big ideas, the minister said, “This is an inherent problem that we need to address together. When we meet in my conference room, which has a round table, I say nobody is against each other and we are on the same side. So, let us work to realize the target. There is no distinction between six different members in the board, 17 zones and 68 divisions. All of them work together to meet the common goal. We are sorting out these issues with open discussions.”

Prabhu said that working with railway unions is a unique experience. He said railway unions are very strong and probably there is not one commercial organization in the world which has as many employees as the Indian Railways. “China’s PLA may have more employees, but that is not a commercial organization so the railways is the largest,” said the minister.

The unions have rejected some recommendations, saying the Debroy report has given a roadmap for privatization of the Indian Railways as a whole, which will neither help passengers nor the country. However, they have welcomed some proposals such as prioritization of projects, reimbursement of subsidy, setting up of training, R&D, IT centres and universities, integration of IT infrastructure and reform of accounting structure.

AIRF bodies meet Railway Minister

गुवाहाटी Guwahati (GWH): The Union government has assured railway unions that all decisions regarding the working of the Indian Railways would be taken only in consultation with them.

This was stated during a meeting which was held earlier this week in New Delhi between the Railway Minister and the railway federations on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Indian Railways.

In the meeting, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) was represented by Rakhal Das Gupta, president of the federation and general secretary of NF Railway Mazdoor Union.

“… (The) Honorable Minister of Railways, while welcoming the federations, assured that there would be no privatization of any activity in the Railways. He also mentioned that his system of working had been very transparent and he would try that each and every issue are discussed with the federations with full transparency. He said that the Indian Railways are passing through a economic crisis, and under these circumstances we have to invite private capital. He further said that he wants to assure that private capital would be used for expansion of railway infrastructure, but all the activities, right from production, maintenance and operation, will be dealt by the railway men only,” said a statement issued by the federations.

Das Gupta and leaders of AIRF opposed the FDI in the Railways and said that because of the propaganda, Railway men have been demoralised.

They reminded the Railway Minister about the circular issued by the Ministry of Commerce & Heavy Industry stating that 100 per cent FDI will be allowed in all the three sectors – production, maintenance and operation.

The Minister said that he would have another round of meeting with the federations after going through all the aspects but assured that no harm would be allowed to the existing Railway system.

Take our PF money, not FDI: Railway Unions to government

Take our members’ Rs.10000 Crore PF balance for 10.5% interest and develop the infra, offer railway unions

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The two major railway unions have proposed to the government an unprecedented alternative to privatisation or inviting foreign investment, to help raise funds and improve revenue.

The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) and the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) had both been demanding an end to the government’s opening of the carrier. Now, they have both offered the Rs 10,000-crore provident fund (PF) deposits of rail workers for development of the cash-short carrier, also the country’s largest single employer.

“We have proposed using the PF balances of the 13.1 lakh workers and 12 lakh retired personnel,” M Raghavaiah, general secretary of NFIR, told. “We can convince the workers on depositing this money with the railways on an interest basis, rather than keeping it in bank accounts.”

NFIR says it represents a little over a million of the 1.3 million workers. And, sees its idea as an attempt to “save the country and Indian Railways from the onslaught of foreign direct investment (FDI) and privatisation in the name of public-private partnership (PPP)”.

Raghavaiah has said in a letter to railways minister Suresh Prabhu, “Serving and retired railway employees can contribute a loan for investment toward development with an interest rate at 10.5 per cent, which would still be one per cent less than the money borrowed from the market.”

The move is part of a bigger plan to help the ministry raise at least Rs 50,000 crore to fund works in track doubling, electrification and signalling, among others. “We have also told the ministry an additional Rs 9,000 crore can be freed for use annually, if it stops paying dividend to the government. No other infrastructure ministry pays a dividend. Why should we?” asked Raghavaiah.

Experts contest this argument, saying no other ministry, apart from railways, is in the business of operations.

The third part of the unions’ fund-raising strategy is to create a source of permanent income by allowing leasing of IR’s mega land bank of 40,000 hectares.

Asked whether the workers’ ideas had cut any ice with the Railway Board chairman (CRB), Arunendra Kumar, the union leader said: “If the prime minister has decided, CRB cannot say anything.”

NFIR is joining the proposed day’s national strike with other central trade unions on December 5.

The Union Cabinet had in August relaxed the FDI norms by permitting 100 per cent investment in projects such as high-speed trains, suburban services, dedicated freight corridors, freight and passenger terminals. The ministry has notified a list of 17 such areas, including rail route electrification, signalling systems and logistics parks. That list is now being expanded to accommodate more projects or areas where FDI can be allowed, minister of state Manoj Sinha had said on Friday.

In addition, the ministry is preparing a list of 50-60 mega projects which can be developed on PPP mode.

This is not the first time the rail unions have surprised with unusual suggestions. In 2011, NFIR and AIRF had demanded the ministry limit the subsidy on certain classes of passengers and raise fares on the rest.

IR’s finances have worsened over the years, in the absence of regular passenger fare increases and maintenance of high freight rates to compensate for losses on passenger fares. And, investments in loss-making projects as part of its social obligation and a huge pay burden.

The railways are budgeting for an operating ratio – the money spent to earn Rs 100 – of a little over 92 per cent this financial year, as compared to last year’s 90 per cent and the 75 per cent in 2007-08.

Unions’ red-flag Government’s move on Railway Board restructure plan

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Railways unions on Wednesday red-flagged BJP government’s move to restructure the railway board, saying they are determined to oppose any move to ‘break’ the national transporter.

During their first interaction with the Bibek Debroy panel set up by the government to suggest ways for restructuring of railways, the union’s leaders admitted that there were problems, but blamed politicians at the helm of affairs for the mess.

Expressing concern over the government’s move to restructure the Railway Board and separating policy making from operations, a Railwaymen’s body today said the move would lead to “chaos”. “In the name of re-organisation, separating the policy making from operations, may lead to chaos,” National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NIFR) general Secretary M Raghavaiah said.

He said that ministers did not raise passenger fares for years and announced ‘unviable’ projects for decades together which pushed the state-run transporter into bankruptcy.

“If the (Bibek Debroy) panel comes out with radical recommendations aimed at breaking railways, we are determined to oppose it,” said Shiv Gopal Mishra of All-India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF), one of the biggest employee unions.

The unions alleged that the problems faced by railways at present are created by political leadership and not by railway-men.

“There is no need to restructure railways. There are few deficiencies which could be rectified in the present system,” said Mishra.

Another union—National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) stated, “While railways is functioning well, the system is put to suffering on account of lopsided and motivated policy decisions of the ruling dispensation.” However, Mishra said that the members of the committee assured us that they are not mandated to break railways but to suggest ways to improve its functioning.

In its representation, AIRF questioned the terms of references of the Debroy panel. The AIRF said the policy making and operation of railways are already separated as operation is handled by the divisional and zonal railway, while policy is framed by the railway board.

Regarding the issue of exchange of officers between the railways and other departments, the union said, “Railways job is highly technical and sophisticated. Short term deputation from other departments is not likely to serve the due purpose.”

NFIR said, “As a responsible organization, the NFIR will be compelled to resist tinkering of Indian railways system in the name of re-organization and structural reforms as we fear that such step would harm not only railways but also the nation as a whole.”

Railway minister Sadananda Gowda had announced in his maiden rail budget formation of an expert committee to suggest restructuring of the railway board.

Committee to identify Railway projects for FDI

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  In a move signalling fast-tracking of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the Railways has constituted a committee to “identify potential areas/projects” that need investment.

The committee consists of executive directors of traffic, civil/ infra, finance, mechanical engineering, signalling and electrical engineering departments, for which the railways is likely to get investments. It would be headquartered in New Delhi.

The cabinet allowed 100 per cent FDI in infrastructure projects and has been desperately eyeing investments in bullet trains and high-speed freight corridors. It has signed MoUs with China and Japan for such investments.

The committee will interact with industries and potential investors to explore areas that interest them.

“The committee should interact with industry/Chamber of Commerce and potential investors, if required,” the order from Railway Board said.

“The Public Private Partnership model adopted earlier has not been encouraging as foreign investments were not allowed,” a high level railway official said.

The ministry finds resistance to 100 per cent FDI from All India Railwaymen’s Federation which says the government has allowed investments in all sectors and their decision is “unilateral”.

Will conduct ‘Joint Meeting’ of all Unions for ‘Sectoral Policy on FDI’ in Railways: Gowda

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: A day after the union cabinet’s decision permitting 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the sector, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda said that “model agreements” and a “sectoral policy” on the engagement with the private and foreign players would shortly be unveiled.

“Foreign players will bring in funds and new technology, which will fast-track big-ticket projects.  Our motto is to strengthen the Railways infrastructure to boost our economy, particularly in the stages of rapid transformations – both technologically and economy-wise, however safeguarding the Railways with utmost care and concern as well. There is no possibility of it being rolled back,” he said.

The decision — which permits railways public sector undertakings to off-load shares to foreign firms — has raised the hackles of rail unions. “A joint meeting of all unions is being scheduled for the month-end to formulate a response in the matter,” said Shiva Gopal Mishra of the All India Railway Men Federation, which claims to represent 11 lakh of the total of approximately 14 lakh employees of the public transporter.

The railway minister reiterated that rail operations and passenger safety had been kept out of the FDI ambit, but the new policy does permit foreign investments in a host of related activities including suburban corridor projects, high speed trains, dedicated freight lines, rolling stock including train sets and locomotives/coaches/wagons, electrification and signalling systems, freight and passenger terminals and infrastructure in industrial parks.

Convening an investor’s meet and organising road shows to attract foreign investments are among plans being worked out, an official said.

AIRF opposes FDI move in Railways

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  While the railways is keen to go ahead with allowing FDI, its largest union — All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) — has warned that it would oppose the move in the existing infrastructure “with all might”. Barring high-speed rail corridor, the union has said that it would oppose all other forms of foreign investment in railways.

“We will oppose any move to privatise any function of the railways or FDI in the existing infrastructure with all might. There are people who are hell-bent to destroy the railways, which essentially is for the poor,” Mr Shiv Gopal Mishra, secretary-general of the AIRF, told.

Union railways minister Sadananda Gowda on Thursday maintained that his ministry has begun talks with the CommerceMministry on the shape of FDI in the national carrier. However, Mr Mishra said that it should be the government which should fund the rail works. “With budgetary support of about Rs,30,000 crores a year, the government thinks that the railways will take up Rs.5 lakhs worth of the pending projects. There is a total disconnect in the policies and the railways should first cancel all the pending projects and prioritise what could be done within the available resources,” said Mr Mishra.

Railway Board’s Negotiations on Railway Strike remain inconclusive – to meet again

New Delhi:  Though marathon talks over two days between the Railway Board and the All India Railwaymen’s Federation remained inconclusive, efforts for a negotiated settlement to avert a showdown are on.

Member Staff A.K. Mittal held discussions with federation leaders while Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar was said to be actively involved in ensuring that negotiations do not derail and yielded a result to the contentment of the employees.

All India Railwaymen’s Federation president Shiva Gopal Mishra however said talks were not satisfactory enough to make them call of the proposed indefinite strike. Sources said Mr. Mittal would present a report on the discussion to Mr. Kumar and then get back to the federation leaders on January 25. The AIRF obtained approval of its members for an indefinite strike through a ballot conducted in December. The outcome is crucial for the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen, which also participated in the negotiations, as it is yet to take a decision on it.

Railway Board decides to meet Federations to avert strike

New Delhi:  Railway Board is scheduled to meet the representatives of the two leading Railway Union on January 15 and 16.

This is after one of the two leading Unions-All India Railwaymen Federation conducted a strike ballot on December 20 and 21 across seventeen zones of the Indian Railway.

The other prominent one called the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen is planning to conduct a strike ballot on January 17 and 18 across the country.

The permanent negotiating machinery chaired by the Member Staff of the Railway board will hear the demands of the Unions.The Unions have threatened a strike in February 2014 if their demands are not addressed.

Earlier the strike ballot planned in September 2013 was deferred as the seventh pay commission was announced. However, senior leaders of the Railway Union have said that their other major demands which include abolishing new pension scheme and addressing the anomalies arising out of the sixth pay commission have remain unaddressed.

Senior Railway officials are sceptical over the timing of the demands. “It’s the election time and everyone is trying to get their demands through as this is a critical time for a government, no one would want to risk a strike. We will meet the union representatives andnegotiate a solution,” said a Railway official.

In the recently concluded ballot of the AIRF in which about 8 lakh employees participated about 96% voted in favour of a strike, said a senior AIRF leader. Indian Railways employs about 14 lakh people, across the country.

Although Railway Unions have threatened strikes at various instances; it was only in 1974 under the leadership of George Fernandes that the Railway employees actually went on strike.

“There are many issues on which there is unanimity between the Railway Board and the Unions like revision of grade pay for running staff and station masters, but those demands are pending with the Finance Ministry.

Going on a strike is a compulsion, we don’t like a strike. But our demands are justified and they should be addressed, “said Gumman Singh, leader of NRIF.

A possible strike can prove to be a nuisance for the Congress led United Progressive Alliance Government, already battling economic woes.

“A Railway strike means the entire economy comes to a halt. It is not the political cost but it the economic cost that is the cause of worry. Since the 7 th pay commission has already been announced, I don’t see a reason why the unions should threaten a strike,” said Akhileshwar Sahay, a railway expert.

According to experts and former Railway officials, the Railways has a good dispute resolution mechanisms at the district, zonal and division level which should address the current disputes. However experts agree that the threat of the strike could be arm-twisting the current government facing elections within few months.

“If they have any grievances from the sixth pay commission they can take them to the seventh pay commission. Any threat of strike should be dealt with an iron fist “ argued Sahay.

Railway Board to hear Unions’ demand in Jan over Strike Threat

New Delhi (NDRB): Railway Board is scheduled to meet the representatives of the two leading Railway Union on January 15 and 16.

This is after one of the two leading Unions-All India Railwaymen Federation conducted a strike ballot on December 20 and 21 across seventeen zones of the Indian Railway.

The other prominent one called the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen is planning to conduct a strike ballot on January 17 and 18 across the country.

The permanent negotiating machinery chaired by the Member Staff of the Railway board will hear the demands of the Unions.The Unions have threatened a strike in February 2014 if their demands are not addressed.

Earlier the strike ballot planned in September 2013 was deferred as the seventh pay commission was announced. However, senior leaders of the Railway Union have said that their other major demands which include abolishing new pension scheme and addressing the anomalies arising out of the sixth pay commission have remain unaddressed.

Senior Railway officials are sceptical over the timing of the demands. “It’s the election time and everyone is trying to get their demands through as this is a critical time for a government, no one would want to risk a strike. We will meet the union representatives and negotiate a solution,” said a Railway official.

In the recently concluded ballot of the AIRF in which about 8 lakh employees participated about 96% voted in favour of a strike, said a senior AIRF leader. Indian Railways employs about 14 lakh people, across the country.

Although Railway Unions have threatened strikes at various instances; it was only in 1974 under the leadership of George Fernandes that the Railway employees actually went on strike.

“There are many issues on which there is unanimity between the Railway Board and the Unions like revision of grade pay for running staff and station masters, but those demands are pending with the Finance Ministry. Going on a strike is a compulsion, we don’t like a strike. But our demands are justified and they should be addressed,” said Gumman Singh, leader of NFIR.

A possible strike can prove to be a nuisance for the Congress led United Progressive Alliance Government, already battling economic woes.

“A Railway strike means the entire economy comes to a halt. It is not the political cost but it the economic cost that is the cause of worry. Since the 7 th pay commission has already been announced, I don’t see a reason why the unions should threaten a strike,” said Akhileshwar Sahay, a railway expert.

According to experts and former Railway officials, the Railways has a good dispute resolution mechanisms at the district, zonal and division level which should address the current disputes. However experts agree that the threat of the strike could be arm-twisting the current government facing elections within few months.

“If they have any grievances from the sixth pay commission they can take them to the seventh pay commission. Any threat of strike should be dealt with an iron fist “ argued Sahay.

Railway employees to strike if Demands not met

New Delhi: A secret ballot conducted by unions at India’s largest employer, the Indian Railways, has thrown up a fresh headache for the UPA government: 96% of over 8 lakh voters from railways employee unions across India have voted in favour of a strike if the Centre fails to meet their demands by March 2014.  If the strike does take place, it would be the first such indefinite strike in 40 years after the 1974 strike led by George Fernandes as the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) leader, following which emergency was imposed. The call for strike had been kicked off in June by AIRF, the largest railway employee union in India. In September, AIRF decided to seek the opinion of other railway employee unions. “We want a logical end to our demands.  And, a unilateral ‘no’ will not be acceptable. Instead, we want them to give us reasons if they cannot meet a certain demand.

We will send our 36-point charter of demands to the Railway Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office by next week and are aiming for a resolution by March. If not, we will be forced to take action which would have huge implications,” said Shiva Gopal Mishra, AIRF general secretary.

Their charter of demands includes long-standing issues like filling up of over 1 lakh job vacancies, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, minimal outsourcing of perennial nature of jobs, scrapping the New Pension Scheme in favour of the old pension scheme, appointment of the 7th Pay Commission and so on. Railway employees want guaranteed pension benefits under the Old Pension Scheme to officials who joined after January 1, 2004, similar to what the home ministry did for all defence and paramilitary forces.

“We have spoken to other unions at the state and central level and have received good response regarding some of the changes we are pushing for,” said Mishra.

Railway employees mulling general strike before Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi: The threat of a general strike in the Railways on Tuesday appeared to be looming large with a majority of its employees favouring it to demand scrapping of new pension scheme and jobs for wards of those who took VRS, among other issues.

The nation-wide strike could be before the Lok Sabha polls to give the government enough time to act on their demands before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force.

“If the government and Railway Ministry do not fulfil our main demands, we will have no option but to declare strike during February-March next year,” said AIRF spokesperson.

If the AIRF goes ahead with the plan, it will be a major strike in Railways after 1974.

Mishra said more than 96 per cent railwaymen of the AIRF had cast their votes in favour of the strike to press for their 36-point charter of demands.

AIRF had conducted ‘strike ballot’ on December 20 and 21 across the country to ascertain the opinions of its members to take a final call on the issue of going on strike.

‘Strike ballot’, mandatory for the union before declaring a strike, is a secret ballot conducted among members to determine whether to launch such a protest.

Out of 10.5 lakh members of AIRF, 8,09,303 members voted. 96 per cent of them backed the strike. Currently, Railways has about 14 lakh employees.

“We will be writing to the Railway Ministry about the outcome of the strike ballot. It is a massive mandate for strike as younger employees are showing more enthusiasm to go ahead with the stir,” Mishra said.

However, he said the federation will fulfil all the criteria mandatory for declaring the strike. It would cost about Rs 800 crore if the movement of trains including freight comes to halt for a day.

About the possible date for the strike, he said, “It will be most probably in February-March next year as we have to keep in mind the code of conduct coming into effect before the impending general elections next year.”

Railwaymen’s Union announces Strike Ballot to go for Indefinite Strike

headerAIRFFW1New Delhi: All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), a union of Railway employees, said that a strike ballot would be conducted among the employees of Indian Railways as a preliminary step for an indefinite strike seeking the government to accept a 36 point charter put forward by the Federation.

The secret strike ballot would be held on December 20 and 21 across the country.

According to the norms, the organisation has to go for the strike ballot before giving notice to the government for indefinite strike. At least 80% of the total employees should participate in the ballot and the union should get a nod from 66.9% to go ahead into the strike.

There are around 14.6 lakh employees in Railways and the Federation claims a strength of 11.7 lakh members.

“We have been in discussion with the government and they have so far agreed to set up the seventh pay commission and in a demand related to promotion. We are planning to ahead for the strike for the rest of the 36 demands,” said N Kanniah, working president of All India Railwaymen’s Federation and general secretary of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU).

The outcome of the ballot will be announced on December 22 or 23, and even afrmter that if the Government of India fails to agree for implementation of the demands in full, it would conduct a meeting by February, 2014, and declare the date for commencement of All India indefinite strike, he said.

He said that if a strike takes place, it would affect the people and the economy. The Railway currently handles around two crore passengers and 14 lakh tonne of goods every day, said Union officials.

He said that the last such indefinite strike was held in 1974, and it went on for 26 days before coming to a settlement.

The charter of demands also include filling up of vacant posts, sanction additional post in tandem with the increase in the number of trains and workload, scrap new pension scheme and cover all Railwaymen with Pension and Family Pension Scheme as available to the staff appointed prior to January 1, 2004 and to provide job to the wards of the employees who opt for voluntary retirement, based on the educational qualification of their wards.

The Union demanded implementation of guaranteed pension scheme for the employees, removal of all anomalies of sixth Central Pay Commission as agreed upon in the meeting of Departmental Anomaly Committee and resolve all anomalies pending before the anomaly committees and a fixed quota for the wards of Railwaymen in all recruitments through RRBs and RRCs, similar to the quota for ex-service men.

AIRF to hold Secret Ballot to decide on Railway Strike

NEW DELHI: Railway employees will go for a ‘secret ballot’ next month to decide upon going on strike to pressurize the government to meet their long pending demands.

The decision to call for the ‘strike ballot’ was taken by All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), the biggest employees’ union which is up against the government’s move to push privatization of the state-run transporter.

Over 13.5 lakh railway employees will vote on December 20 and 21 to decide on calling a general strike to press for their ‘genuine’ demands.

As per generous estimates, a day’s strike could cause railways a loss of around 400 crore along with hindering movement of goods and hardship for the public.

The employees are agitated over the new pension scheme and are demanding that it be scrapped. Other demands include introduction of guaranteed pension and family pension schemes that were available prior to January 2004, payment of arrears and allowances to drivers of goods and passenger trains and removal of pay anomalies of the 6th Pay Commission.

The employees want filling of all vacant posts, including 1.5 lakh vacancies in safety category and 20,000 locomotive drivers, and sanctioning additional posts to meet the increase in workload due to increase in number of trains.

AIRF general secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra said the employees were ready for negotiation but they were being pushed to go on strike as the finance ministry was ignoring their ‘genuine’ demands.

“I am aware of the consequences of a railway strike but the government is not listening to our demands,” Mishra said, adding that finance ministry was trying to privatize railways. “There are 4.5 lakh contract labourers who are not given even minimum wages,” he said.

After seeking the employees’ mandate, the unions will serve a notice to the railway management.

The unions resorted to such a strike ballot in 2006 but the government averted a showdown by announcing the constitution of the 6th Pay Commission.

The country last faced a major railway strike in 1974 under the leadership of George Fernandes while the other two strikes were in 1960 and 1968. The unions had to resort to strike ballot only on three occasions, but the government moved decisively and negotiated a settlement.

AIRF, representing 10.26 lakh employees, is in talks with other unions to join the strike call. Leaders of the unions have indicated that the strike could be a reality in February 2014, warning the government that they are serious and not merely threatening.

Rly Unions put Sept as deadline to MoF over their demands – plan Secret Ballot over Strike

New Delhi / Secunderabad: The deadline given by the Railway Union to the Ministry of Finance to take an action over their demands has ended in September. The leading parties have given an ultimatum to the government and are planning to hold a secret ballot with the Railway employees to decide whether to go for a strike or not.

The two leading unions of Indian Railways, All India Railway Federation (AIRF) and National Federation of Indian Railways (NFIR) are now heading to conduct a secret ballot over the charter of demands that the unions had presented to the government. Indian Railways currently employs 1.4 million. Most employees are affiliated to either of the two leading unions.

The secret ballot would be held over the charter of demands across 17 zones of the Indian Railways between 28 and 30 November 2013 for NFIR and on 20 and 21 December for AIRF. Leaders of the union have indicated that the strike could be a reality in February 2014. The two hold majority of the Zonal Railways seats.

“The government needs to realize that the strike of Indian Railways is not a joke and we are serious on our demands and not merely threatening”, said senior leader from Railways Union. Earlier in July the Railway Unions had presented a charter of demands to the Ministry of Finance and had put a three month deadline that ended in September.

Senior leaders from the leading Railway Unions expressed frustration over the lack of response from Finance Ministry.

The main demand of the Railway Union is to set up a committee for 7th pay commission. Other include changing the ‘anomalies’ arising out of the Sixth Pay Commission report, which requires revision of the pay scale for various categories.

Also, entitlement to pension for casual workers, working continuously for 20-25, considering this service as a qualifying service,

Further the Union has asked for setting up of New Pension Scheme guaranteeing pension beside dearness allowance, also merging the dearness allowance with the salary which would give railway workers increment, transport and other benefits.

As Business Standard had reported earlier, a day’s strike could cause Indian Railways loss of Rs 341.96 crore along with upsetting the movement of goods and larger public inconvenience.

However the already cash crunched Indian Railways would have a tough time managing its finances if wages are increased again. According to the latest CAG report staff cost including pension outgo constitutes about 62% of Indian Railways Ordinary Working Expenses. The ordinary working expenses stood at Rs 84,400 crore for 2012-2013.

The appropriation to pension fund was further increased by Rs 1500 crore in the budget of 2013-2014.

The last salary hike for Railway employees was under the 6th Pay commission in 2008 which hiked the pension and wages has put an additional burden of Rs 73,000 crore on Indian Railways over the period of five years.

AIRF demands Pension Scheme for Railways similar to Paramilitary Forces

headerAIRFFW1NEW DELHI: If the Government could bring the paramilitary forces back to the old pension scheme in 2009, why cannot it do the same for Railway employees, the largest union of the country – All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) – has asked.

The Government had brought the paramilitary forces under the old pension scheme in 2009, five years after it mandated New Pension Scheme for all Government employees except Defence officials in January 1, 2004.

The railway union reiterated its demand to scrap the New Pension Scheme which is contribution-based and does not provide any guarantee in pension payment. It reiterated its demand to have a pension scheme that provides some guarantee about pension payment.

Addressing the annual general meeting of Bridge Division of Northern Railwaymen’s Union in New Delhi, Shiva Gopal Mishra, said, “All the defence personnel are exempted from this scheme. Not only that, paramilitary forces were brought back in the Old Pension Scheme in year 2009.”

In a press release, Mishra further added that every year more than five hundred Railway-men lost their lives while performing their duties.

“Their services have always been praised by saying that they are the second line of defence. If they are second line of defence, why they cannot be brought back in the Old Pension Scheme,” asked Mishra.

AIRF said that the Government employees all over the country are opposed to the New Pension Scheme and they are demonstrating their anger by staging rallies and dharnas at their work places.

He further said that the AIRF will not only confine to holding of demonstrations against the New Pension Scheme, but also resolve to stoppage of trains, if employees are not brought back to a Guaranteed Pension Scheme.

AIRF demands scrapping of the new Pension Scheme introduced by the Central Govt.

The All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF), Indian Railways’ largest employee union, has called for a protest rally across the country, on the day after Government introduces the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill.

It has urged its over 10 lakh members to go to the Prime Minister’s Office website and lodge their protest.

On September 13, the union will also take a call on whether it will go on an indefinite strike on the issue.

The Railway Union has called for scrapping of the new pension scheme (NPS) for long.

“NPS has taken away the rights of Central and State Government employees to have pension and family pension. AIRF is determined to scrap the new pension scheme and compel the Government to cover all Central and State Government employees under pension and family pension scheme,” AIRF has stated.

The Standing Committee meeting of AIRF calls upon all Central and State Government employees in general and Railwaymen in particular to register strong protest against the evil design of Government to introduce PFRDA Bill on the floor of Parliament,” AIRF has stated.

Railway Strike to have serious ramifications on the polity, policy, projects and social fabric

The All India Railwaymen’s Federation’s (AIRF’s) threat of a general strike if its demand for a new Pay Commission is not granted is a reminder of the intellectual bankruptcy of much of the trade union movement in India. Stuck in a paradigm of aggressive demands and confrontation, trade unions and their leaders are increasingly behind the curve when it comes to a responsible protection of labour rights. The latest demand is a case in point. The AIRF may hope for a repeat of the 1974 saga when the country was crippled by a railway strike that which eventually witnessed the brutal murder of then then Railway Minister L.N.Mishra in a bomb blast at Samastipur Railway station premises (Indira Gandhi blamed “foreign elements” for the murder, probably referring to the CIA) and subsequent National Emergency in 1975.

But times have changed and so has the dominant position of railway services. The Railways, India’s largest employer with 1.4 million employees, has been steadily losing share in the freight business, which accounts for the bulk of its revenues, to road transport. The utility is only just showing some signs of better health thanks to a long-delayed rise in passenger fares. It is vastly overstaffed and constrained from cutting this flab on account of union pressure. Like all government employees, its employees are partly protected from inflation by a price index-linked dearness allowance, a benefit many private sector counterparts do not necessarily enjoy. The need for a pay hike in the middle of a global slowdown is not clear.

Indeed, these pressure tactics do more than a little disservice to the cause of labour rights in India and hardly enhance the reputation of its labour unions. In any case, India’s trade unions disproportionately focus on the minuscule organised sector. Since the public sector accounts for a bulk of this – some 20 million of the 30 million employed in the organised sector – it has been easy to mobilise them as a power base. The consequences of this, however, can be seen in the unfortunate condition of a vast proportion of unorganised labour – almost 480 million – which enjoys few rights and benefits. A Bill to introduce pension and provident funds for the latter has been languishing in Parliament for years, the victim of serial disruptions that have come to mark every session.

Equally, however, as competition rises in market after market, labour unions are also proving to be less beneficial even for their traditional constituencies. One example is BSNL, the state-owned national telecom provider with famously appalling service. Private telecom competitors have made it all but irrelevant, hurting its employees. Yet the obvious revival route via privatisation has been stalled owing to powerful union pressure. It’s the same case in Coal India, the monopoly coal producer that has suffered all the classic problems of government ownership. Unions most fear the lay-offs that inevitably follow privatisation, ignoring the fact that keeping a firm on life support does not enhance the career progression or employability of its workers in any case. Nothing illustrates this better than the state of West Bengal where militant trade unionism nurtured the successful political careers of many a Left politician, including the late Jyoti Basu, whose birth centenary was recently celebrated, and current Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The sustained flight of capital that has followed as a result has left workers in the lurch and created a vicious cycle of discontent and political violence. The Railway unions can ignore these red signals at their peril.

Railway unions threaten general strike

Trade unions have threatened to bring Indian Railways (IR) to a halt three months from now, if a new national pay commission (the 7th such) isn’t announced for government employees.

The Congress-backed National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) one of the largest unions in IR, wrote to the Prime Minister a month before that the employees would go for a strike if their demands were not met within four months. The largest railway union, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), affiliated to the Hind Mazdoor Sabha and formally independent of political leanings, has also informally announced plans for a strike if a 7th Pay Commission was not set up.

If the strike is indeed called after three months, it would be the second national rail strike in Indian history of such magnitude. The first one was in 1974, led by George Fernandes, AIRF’s Socialist Party leader which eventually took dramatic changes that led India towards Emergency in 1975.

Umraomal Purohit, president of AIRF and HMS general secretary, said a declaration was made at a seminar of the former union that there was no alternative but a general strike for getting a pay commission. The union’s general council has to take a decision. “The Industrial Disputes Act requires that the decision is then voted by all members of AIRF by secret ballot, after which it would become official,” Purohit, who was sent to jail for nine months following the 1974 strike.

NFIR stayed away from the 1974 strike. It said it expected the entire rail network to halt when a strike was called. Sanjeeva Reddy, president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, to which NFIR is affiliated, said the union had sent its list of demands to the Prime Minister after there was no response from the railway and finance ministries.

NFIR general secretary M Raghavaiah said the strike would paralyse IR, with 1.4 million staffers taking part. The trains carry 24 million people every day. “We had given four months time and one month is already gone,” he said. Setting up of a 7th Central Pay Commission, he said, was “long overdue”. “We have been writing to the railways ministry and to the finance ministry. The railways ministry sent a proposal to the latter. But there is no response,” he said.

Adding: “If we dont get any response from the PM, we would be compelled to give notice for a strike.”

Said Purohit: “Once the notice is served, the government will talk. Last time we gave a notice asking for a 6th Pay Commission, we did not have to call a strike.”.

On the legality of a strike, he said the Industrial Disputes Act had set some conditions for strikes only for IR. “So, we have to follow the process, like taking a secret ballot. But even then, the government would (probably) pass an ordinance and declare the strike illegal. It is also likely to withdraw our recognition but we are not bothered about that,” he says, recalling the HMS union had lost its recognition for some time after the 1974 strike.

Railway staff seek constitution of Seventh Pay Commission

All India Railwaymen Federation, Confederation of Central Government Employees’ Association and All India Defence Employees Association have threatened to go on strike if the Centre fails to meet their charter of demands, including constitution of the Seventh Pay Commission.

Addressing a meeting of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union members here, its zonal president C.A.Raja Sridhar said the three trade bodies will wait till August for a positive response from the Centre, and will go on a nation-wide strike if they did not get any. In support of Mazdoor Union’s call, the All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF), All India RPF Association, All-India Station Masters’ Association, Federation of Railway Officers Associations., New Delhi, Headlines, Indian Railway Accounts Service Association, Indian Railway Mazdoor Union, Indian Railway Traffic Service Association (IRTSA), Indian Railways Employees Sangh, National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) have also extended their support for constitution of Seventh Pay Commission.

Around 25 lakh employees will join the agitation, he noted. Among the demands are merger of dearness allowance with basic pay, regularisation of services of gramin dak sevaks, rolling back of new pension scheme, scrapping of ceiling on bonus and appointment on compassionate ground.

Move flayed

Southern Railway Mazdoor Union has also condemned the Railway Ministry’s move to provide the drawings and designs of coaches of Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, to five private coach manufacturing factories to come up in the country.

“This move is nothing but plundering of the national wealth for the benefit of private companies,” said Mr.Sridhar.

He wondered what was the necessity for the railways to have private coach factories, when the Ministry had proposed to set up its own units at Rai Bareilly and Palghat and a second unit of the ICF.

“The process of recruitment of around 700 employees at Rai Bareilly unit was under way, while the certificate for production from the Ministry was awaited for the Palghat unit,” Mr.Sridhar said, and added that the budget proposal had been made for the second unit of the ICF, he said.

Stating that the Railways had paid Rs.150 crore to Germany to get patent right for the design of LBH coaches in the past, Mr.Sridhar asked why should the decades of toil of the ICF employees go free of cost to private companies in the form of its drawings and design.

The conditions laid for the five coach factories were highly favourable to private companies. Private companies would be making only steel shells while specialised tasks like manufacturing axle, wheel and traction equipment would be done by the ICF, he added.

IR heading for its First Indefinite Strike in 39 years in October

One of the largest employer in the world, the 160 year old Indian Railways, is heading for its first indefinite strike in 39 years. The railways’ largest employee union – the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) – has issued a call to its 1.4 million workers to strike work, kicking off a process that could bring the utility to a halt by October this year.

AIRF general secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra told RailNews that railway workers have lost patience with the government, which has been backtracking on several commitments made in the past.

“We believe in industrial peace, but since we are not considered relevant by the government of the day, we have been forced to show our relevance by resorting to an indefinite strike,” Mishra said, stressing that railway-men were not looking for some new sops, but wanted the Centre to stick to its past promises relating to the Pay Commission recommendations.

The last railways strike was led by George Fernandes as the AIRF leader in 1974, following which the government declared a state of emergency. Over the next fortnight, AIRF president Umraomal Purohit will engage with other union leaders and set the ball rolling for the strike. Orchestrating a strike in the railways is a time-consuming exercise and may take about three months to kick off.

“There will have to be a secret ballot where all employees would vote for or against the strike call,” Mishra said, adding that the AIRF was confident of other unions joining its movement as they have been party to the negotiations with the government and the railway ministry on several issues which have not been resolved.

The AIRF was the first union to be set up in the railways’ history in 1924, and emerged as the single largest union in railways’ 17 zones following elections by secret ballot whose results were declared this May. This was only the second time union elections were held by secret ballot in the railways’ history.

While unions affiliated to the Communist parties and the Bhartiya Janata Party were routed in the polls, the Congress-backed National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) sharply improved its tally. Set up by the Congress’ trade union wing INTUC after independence, the NFIR now has the largest bargaining power in five of the 17 zones and is the second largest official trade union.

AIRF threatens to go on strike

New Delhi, June 28:  The All India Railwaymen’s Federation has threatened to go on indefinite strike unless many of their genuine demands including setting up of the Seventh Central Pay Commission and doing away with new pension scheme are met. “We have not decided on the timing of the strike yet,” Shiva Gopal Mishra, AIRF, told RailNews, however stated that during the first week of July AIRF General Body to take a decision on the same.
AIRF is the largest Railway union with 10.26 lakh members as on date on Indian Railways.  AIRF had got largest voting during the recently held Trade Union Elections, compared to its nearest competition.

AC coaches: Vizag has hardly anything to cheer about

“Waltair DRM seem to have no time for the problems of passengers”

The Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECoR) has bagged the unique distinction of being among the select few Divisions in the country to have crossed the 50 MT mark in freight loading by achieving originating loading of 51.54 MT and freight revenue of Rs.5275.83 crore during the just concluded financial year.

So, what’s the incentive it got for its consistent performance year after year? “Diversion of trains, diversion of facilities like Wagon Repair Shop (WRS) to Odisha, reduction of the quota of berths … and the list seems endless,” say former railway union leaders, Railway Zone Sadhana Samithi leaders and others, who have been consistently fighting against the ‘injustice’ being done to Waltair Division.

Unfortunately, our people’s representatives have already gone into election mode for the 2014 general elections and seem to have no time for the problems of railway passengers.

On April 10, ECoR announced the augmentation of AC coaches on 14 pairs of trains.

There is hardly anything to cheer about for the people of Waltair Division. Only one train from Visakhapatnam to Korba was given an additional III AC coach, while the remaining AC coaches have been augmented to trains originating from Bhubaneswar and Puri. Coaches are generally added to trains, which have huge wait lists over and above the capacity of the class of coach. A large number of people prefer AC to Sleeper Class during summer.

There are about 16 trains originating from Visakhapatnam and 47 AC coaches are at the disposal of the Vizag base. The coach composition of most of these trains remained the same since their introduction.

Representatives of various organisations fighting against the injustice to Waltair Division allege that the augmentation of AC coaches was so chosen so as to avoid Visakhapatnam in most cases and some were not even running through AP.

It’s high time our MP s wake up at least now and live up to the aspirations of the people, whom they represent.

Rail employees seek an end to corruption in appointments

NEW DELHI: The bribes for top-level appointments scandal that could soon lead the Central Bureau of Investigation to Railways minister Pawan Kumar Bansal’s doorstep, has rattled the rank and file of the Indian Railways, the country’s largest employer with 1.4 million employees. The Railways’ largest union has urged the government to take urgent action to plug the loopholes that offer scope for nepotism in appointments.

The All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), which won the rights to represent employees in 16 out of the 17 railway zones after a secret ballot poll that concluded in late April, said that the bribe taint had badly demoralised Railways’ workers and tarnished the utility’s image. “There should be no doubt about the fact that there are certain loopholes in the process of promotion at the apex level, which facilitate scope for favouritism on face-value or other considerations,” AIRF general secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra has written in a letter sent to cabinet secretary Ajit Seth on Tuesday, adding that appointments had degenerated into ‘You show me the face, I will show you the rules.’ “The process of promotion is required to be made fully transparent and foolproof, so that the deserving candidates with clear image are able to get their due promotion,” the AIRF has urged.

The union’s letter to the government comes a day after the apex association of railways officers sent a detailed complaint to Seth as well as the principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Pulok Chatterjee, alleging that senior level ‘lucrative’ positions were kept vacant for long stretches to enable corruption.

It’s a Polling Season on Indian Railways – Rail Unions to go for polls on April 25

Railway unions will go for polls on April 25, 26 and 27 throughout the nation.  Even as the political parties are busy with filing their nominations, the 12,40,000 odd railway employees in the country, are busy campaigning for their union polls scheduled to be held on April 25, 26 and 27. While the railway station premises and railway colonies have been adorned with posters and banners, the campaigners are busy in door-to-door visit at Railway quarters, distributing electioneering phamlets and badges.

Trade Unions securing at least 30 per cent vote of the total number of voters in the respective Railway zone or securing minimum 35 per cent of the total polled votes will get through in the referendum. National Federation of Indian Railways (NFIR), Bharatiya Railway Mazdoor Sangh (BRMS), All India Railway Men’s Federation (AIRF) are the major central trade unions involved in the battle. The process of referendum and counting of votes are conducted by Railway authorities. May 2 is the counting day and the results will be announced by afternoon.

Zonal Trade Unions

As referendum is being held according to each zone, all central unions have got their respective zonal unions too. In Southern Railway, Southern Railway Employees Sangh (SRES) represents the zonal union of NFIR, Dakshina Railway Karmik Sangh (DRKS) for BRMS and Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) for AIRF. In National Trade union level, NFIR is affiliated with INTUC, BRMS with BMS and AIRF with HMS.

In the Southern Railway, in 2007, where the referendum was held last time, only two unions, SRMU and Dakshina Railway Employees Union (DREU) managed to get Railway recognition. DREU is the Railway employees’ faction of CITU. In 2007, SRMU secured 31.2 per cent votes and DREU above 30 per cent. A total of eight trade unions are fighting it out on this time in Southern Railway. Railway referendum polling procedure is very much similar to that of general elections except the presence of Electronic Voting Machines. Ballot paper, election symbol allotted to each union, putting ink on voter’s fingure… everything is there. According to the Railway muster roll, 86,200 voters are in Southern Railway Zone of which 6,874 come under Palakkad division.

Mangalore depot

In Mangalore depot which comprises Ullal, Mangalore central, Panambur and Mangalore Junction, there are a total of 954 voters. The voters can vote on any of the three days according to their work schedule. Railway Permanent way Inspector’s office at Mangalore central premise is the polling station and the polling time is between 8 am and 5 pm. The counting will be held at Palakkad on May 2.

Campaign in full swing

DREU Palakkad division Assistant Secretary T Suresh told that election campaign works are in full swing at all stations. “DREU is requesting votes on behalf of its pro-employee stand it has been upholding all through the years,” he said. Suresh claims that DREU was in the forefront of several agitations against curtailing benefits of Railway employees. SRMU Mangalore branch Secretary Ananda also lists several achievements his union successfully fought for the welfare of employees. Star is the election symbol of DREU, whereas flag is that of SRMU and train that of SRES. The campaigning was started on March 18 and since then leaders and workers are busy canvassing and wooing voters. Poster campaign, graffiti writing in Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and English languages, putting up big banners… all have made Railway premises wear a festive look at Mangalore Central station.

AIRF ultimatum to Centre, Railway Ministry

Seeks implementation of unanimous report of Cadre Restructuring Committee

The All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), the largest trade union in Indian Railway, has given an ultimatum to the Central government and to the Railway Ministry to implement its charter of demands that includes scrapping of new pension scheme.

Disclosing this to reporters here, its working president N. Kanniah said the AIRF had given the ultimatum on February 21 to implement the federation’s set of demands by June failing which it would conduct secret ballot in all railway zones across the country and decide future course of action.

Prominent among the federation’s demands are implementation of the unanimous report of Cadre Restructuring Committee for all categories of railwaymen retrospectively with effect from May 1, 2010, with payment of consequential arrears, said Mr. Kanniah, who is also the general secretary of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union.

The new pension scheme should not be implemented for railwaymen since railways has a separate budget, Mr. Kanniah said.

He said the federation had also demanded that similar to Military Special Pay granted to military personnel, all railwaymen should be paid a monthly special pay of Rs. 2,000 as “Railway Special Pay” for discharging their duties round-the-clock and throughout the year.

Implementation of Grade Pay for all categories of railwaymen, merger of 80 per cent dearness allowance with basic pay, implementation of unanimous recommendation of the Joint Committee on Package and Career Progression for Trackmen in toto in regard to promotional percentage, no night duty for open line women workers, sanctioning productivity linked bonus on the basis of real wages without any upper ceiling limit and enhancing nursing allowance from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 10,000 per month are among the other demands of the federation