The Nairuthya Railway Employees Union (NREU), affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), is contesting in the South Western Railway elections that will be held on April 25 and 26.

Speaking to reporters here on Saturday, NREU general secretary Venkatesh Murthy alleged that the previous unions recognised after the elections that were held in 2007 had failed to act against the “anti-labour policies” in the Railways.

He said that it was due to the struggles of the union that the railway management decided to directly credit the productivity linked bonus into the railway employees’ bank account along with the salary.

Basudev Acharya, MP and all-India member of CITU, said that none of the unions had spoken about the large vacancies in the Railways. From 16 lakh employees in 1996, the number of employees had come down to 12.5 lakh. “Many important posts, especially in the security wing, are vacant. The Railways is outsourcing staff and contracts have become rampant,” he said. He said that there is a demand for an alternative union that will address labour issues within the Railways.

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