Members of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union staged a protest here on Thursday against the Railway Board’s proposal to do away with 10,000 posts of loco pilot across the country.
Speaking on the occasion, union divisional secretary J.M. Rafi said the move was totally unjust at this time when Indian Railways was facing shortage of loco pilots. “Eventually, it will lead to overburdening of the existing staff, which would compromise the safety of passengers,” he said.
A loco pilot had to ensure the safety of around 2,000 passengers, he added.
Stating that the locomotives did not have toilet facility, Mr. Rafi said forcing loco pilots to work for 10 hours at a stretch would deny them time to attend to the call of nature.
The union was also opposed to the move to increase the distance of operation of trains for loco pilots and close smaller depots. Assistant divisional secretary of the union V. Ramkumar said closure of smaller depots would not allow the loco pilots to work near their native places.
“Already a lot of loco pilots have sacrificed their seniority to work in their native places. They would now lose the chance to work in their native places too,” he added.
The union also condemned reduction in rest duration ‘which would affect the health of loco pilots’.
SRMU (loco running staff) functionary Alaguraja presided.