They come out with a set of 36 demands on wages and working conditions

A vast majority of the Class-III and IV railway employees, owing allegiance to the South Central Railway Mazdoor Union (SCRMU) in Vijayawada division have resolved through a nationwide ballot, to go on strike to press for an urgent solution to their problems. They have come out with a set of 36 demands pertaining to wages and working conditions which have been pending for a long time.

In the ‘strike ballot’ conducted in the last two days at all stations and depots as per the call given by All India Railwaymen’s Federation, only 95 out of 15,322 employees who cast their vote, ruled out the need for strike (15,227 voted in its favour).

Main demands

Some of the employees’ main demands 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 limit of Rs. 3,500 for the purpose of paying productivity-linked bonus, raising the ceiling of IT deduction to Rs. 5 lakh, removal of anomalies in the 6th Central Pay Commission recommendations.

SCRMU divisional secretary G.N. Srinivasa Rao told The Hindu that implementation of recommendations of the high-power committee that was set up to look into the problems faced by the running staff and employees in the safety category in putting more than the stipulated number of working hours and many other issues was far from satisfactory.

After reviewing the whole situation, the 89th annual conference of AIRF held at Patna last month resolved to have ‘negotiated settlement’ of the issues raised by them or go on strike, as the last resort, after duly conveying the level of disenchantment of the employees with their working conditions.