Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Railway administration has reviewed the crew and guard links of mail/express and passenger trains to correct the inter-divisional imbalance in kilometres worked by the crew and guards of each division. The review was done in view of the creation of the Salem Division, said a press release from Railways here on Friday.

The release came in response to a report in these columns on Friday on a proposed protest action under the aegis of All India Loco Running Staff Association.

The press release said that in reviewing the crew link, Railways could also benefit by improving the utilisation of its manpower.

As per the rules of Railways, the crew should work 104 hours a fortnight. However, the review recommended only 80 hours of work per fortnight. Railways are entitled to have links whereby the crew may have to stay away from headquarters for six nights continuously. However, the Southern Railway administration has given a link whereby the crew have to stay out for only four nights, or less, continuously, said the press release.

Uniform standard

The new links also provide opportunity for increasing the kilometres earned by crew. The average kilometre earned per crew would go up by approximately 15 per cent per month. The links also ensure a uniform standard of work and rest duly balancing working hours with home station and outstation rest.

The press release also said that all the categories of railway employees are prescribed with duty hours in accordance with the statutory provision of Hours of Employment Regulation. Under no circumstance can an executive of a Zonal Railway go against the norms fixed by the Regulation.

In making these regulations, the Railway administration has ensured that there is no violation of statutory provision of Hours of Employment Regulation.

Links, as originally proposed, were reviewed following the discussions with employees, supervisors and representatives of recognised trade unions, accommodating their specific requests related to day-to-day working. The links proposed had ensured an equitable distribution of kilometres worked and earned by crew belonging to different depots on Southern Railway. It has also improved the utilisation of manpower by extending the run, duly ensuring that all runs are within the existing hours of work and have, in addition, made available crew for working freight trains.