The Nairuthya Railway Employees’ Union (NREU), a registered trade union of the South Western Railway, launched its campaign for the upcoming referendum, where railway employees vote for the trade union that represents them.

The voting, through secret ballot, is slated to be held in April this year. The last election, which the Railways is mandated to conduct bi-annually, was held in 2007.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Basudeb Acharia, CPI(M) MP, spoke about the rampant privatisation and outsourcing of work in the Railways, which has brought about “multi-crore corruption scandals” that are going unchecked. This, along with a focus on the working conditions of railway employees, will be the prime focus of the NREU, Mr. Acharia said.

He pointed out that though it had been agreed upon decades ago that the maximum working hours for a railway employee will be 10 hours, drivers are routinely forced to clock 13 to 15-hour shifts. This, he said, is also at the risk of compromising safety and security of passengers.

Another concern is the immediate announcement of the seventh pay commission.

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