The secret ballot procedure adopted by the railway unions, to get the consensus of the employees to decide whether they should go or not for the indefinite strike has absolute majority in favor. Ninety percent of the employees who exercised their franchise, in Udaipur region on 20 and 21st dec have dropped their ballot papers in the Red Box- which denotes 'Yes' to strike. Those who weren't in favor of strike dropped their ballots in the black box. At Udaipur railway station of the total 400 votes polled, 398 voted for strike while at Rana PratapNagar Rly station 284 votes favored strike while mere three said no to it. At Kamlighat station all 179 votes were in favour while at Mavli 267 polled for strike while 18 votes were against the motion, informed NL Vijay, president of the north western railway employees union. Union leaders have indicated that the strike could be a reality in February 2014.

Earlier in July, railway unions All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), had presented a charter of demands to the finance ministry and had put a three month deadline that ended in September.The unions had announced to conduct secret ballot to get the mandate from their members before taking a decision of indefinite strike. The secret ballot was held across 17 zones of the Indian Railways, between November 28 and 30 for NFIR and on December 20 and 21 for AIRF.

The demands- Of the 36 point demands, the major one for the unions is to set up a committee for the Seventh Pay Commission. Others include changing the 'anomalies' arising out of the Sixth Pay Commission report, which requires revision of the pay scale for various categories. Also, entitlement to pension and other benefits for casual workers, working continuously for 20-25 years, considering this service as a qualifying service, further the Union has asked for abolition of New Pension Scheme, statutory guarantee for new pension subscribers. Recruitment for the vacant posts, rescheduling the duty period to 7 hours for all cadre, implementation of recommendations of the career advancement committee for the gangmen constitute other demands.

Railway strike means nation at halt- Indian Railways currently employs 1.4 million people. A day's strike could cause Indian Railways a loss of Rs 341.96 crore along with upsetting the movement of goods and larger public inconvenience.

However, the already cash crunched Indian Railways would have a tough time managing its finances if wages are increased again.

0 comments