Railway employees owing allegiance to the All India Railwaymen Federation will go for a ‘Strike Ballot’ on December 20 and 21 to decide on the proposed general strike. The employees have put forward a charter of demands that include guaranteed pension scheme and quota for the wards of employees in railway recruitments.

Addressing a gathering of employees at a demonstration organised in front of the Southern Railway General Manager’s office here, Southern Railway Mazdoor Union general secretary N. Kanniah said more than 1,000 voting centres were established across the zone where employees could cast their votes. Ballot papers were printed in different languages.

A majority of the long-pending demands were ignored by the Ministry of Railways. The employees were frustrated with the pay anomalies and other issues. “The general mood is to go for the indefinite strike. In case we decide to agitate, at least 1.3 million members of our unions are expected to join the protest. The last general strike was in 1974...the outcome of the ‘Strike Ballot’ will be announced by the AIRF on December 23,” he said.

Dr. Kanniah said the move to go on strike followed a series of agitations in support of the demands in the last few years. “The Sixth Pay Commission created a lot of anomalies affecting thousands of employees. Though committees formed to look into the discrepancies recommended revision of pay-scales, the Union government refused to implement it.”

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