Negligence of Indian Railways management in solving problems alleged

Nearly 17,500 railway employees below officer rank (Group-C) in Vijayawada Division owing allegiance to the South Central Railway Employees’ Sangh (SCRES) participated in the two-day ‘strike ballot’ that began on Friday.

It was organised to know how many employees wanted to go on strike in protest against the alleged negligence of Indian Railways management in solving their problems listed out in a 65-point charter of demands.

The decision to conduct ‘strike ballot’ was taken last month by the SCRES’s parent union National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) which is affiliated to INTUC and the Leftist All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) has just about a month ago resolved by a vast majority to go on indefinite strike.

Some of the main demands of SCRES are filling of vacant posts, stopping outsourcing of perennial nature of jobs, scrapping of New Pension Scheme, implementation of recommendations of the Joint Committee constituted to look into issues of career progression of trackmen, removing ceiling limits of productivity-linked bonus and IT deduction and rectification of anomalies in the 6th Central Pay Commission recommendations.

SCRES divisional secretary B.V. Chalapathi Rao told The Hindu that over 100 ballot boxes were provided across the division, and counting (of votes) would be done at SCRES divisional office situated near Eluru Locks in the city on Sunday in the presence of neutral persons.

He said implementation of the recommendations of the high-power committee that was set up to look into the problems faced by running staff and employees in safety category was far from satisfactory and expressed regret that the IR management has so far not taken a serious note of their genuine demands.

Action plan

The SCRES would chart its future course of action depending on the outcome of the ‘strike ballot’ which is under way from Friday.

‘A farce’

Meanwhile, Rail Mazdoor Union General Secretary T. Srinivas termed the ‘strike ballot’ being conducted by NFIR as a farce saying that it (NFIR) was not truly committed to alleviating the plight of thousands of railway employees who were burdened with prolonged working hours and other poor service conditions.

The NFIR and AIRF were using the strike call as a bargaining chip in their own vested interests, Mr. Srinivas alleged in a press release.

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