Members of the Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) staged a demonstration here on Thursday with a charter of demands, including an appeal to fill vacant posts in the Safety Department.

The protest was led by the union divisional secretary, J. M. Rafi. He said that scores of railway staff were retiring in the safety and operational departments, but their vacancies were not being filled up. Stating that 870 posts of gangman were lying vacant in the division, he wondered how the railways could compromise on the safety of passengers.

The gangmen played an important role in ensuring safety of passengers in the backdrop of increased rail traffic and threat perception. He wanted deployment of two gangmen for night patrol duty in isolated places. Besides, they must be given communication gadgets to alert officials in case of emergencies.

The agitators wanted the administration to ensure eight-hour duty for all the traffic and engineering gatekeepers. The divisional secretary of the union loco running staff wing, V. Ramkumar, demanded that the officials, during inspection, should not occupy the seat of the assistant loco pilots as the latter could not discharge their duties in a satisfactory manner.