Union government has issued orders that staff appointed on or after January 1, 2004 would be guided by the new pension scheme, which was subject to the vagaries of the stock market.

A dharna was organised by the East Coast Railway Shramik Union here on Wednesday demanding scrapping of the new pension scheme.

Addressing the participants of the dharna, ECoRSU general secretary Ch. Gandhi recalled that pension was sanctioned to Railwaymen after submission of several representations by the All India Railwaymen’s Federation in November 1957. It was improved from time to time as a social security measure to employees in their old age. He said it was unfortunate that the Union government has issued orders that staff appointed on or after January 1, 2004 would be guided by the new pension scheme, which was subject to the vagaries of the stock market.

Assistant general secretary and divisional coordination of the union B. Damodara Rao said the Supreme Court had affirmed in its landmark judgment in 1982 that pension was statutory, inalienable and legally enforceable right and pension was a ‘deferred wage’. He described the new pension scheme as a ‘retrograde’ step and contrary to the spirit of the Supreme Court’s judgment.

Chairperson of AIRF (Women’s Committee) and ECoRSU working president D. Shaleel demanded immediate withdrawal of the new pension scheme which was detrimental to the interests of workers. She warned that the agitation would be intensified otherwise.

Union leaders P.J.J. Raju, S. Chellarayudu, and V. Narasinga Rao were among those who participated in the agitation programme.

Later, a memorandum was submitted to Divisional Railway Manager N. Kashinath.

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