Friday, January 24, 2014

Railway union ballot: 90% employees in favour of strike

VADODARA: A majority of railwaymen are in favour of a strike to press for their long-standing demands. This was stated by officials of National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), who had conducted a strike ballot for two days to know the views of the railway employees, on Saturday.

It was during the national convention of NFIR held at Vishakhapatnam in December that the convention had taken a historic decision to hold a strike ballot on Indian Railways as the long pending demands of the railwaymen, which had been accepted by the ministry of railways were not being considered by the finance ministry.

"During the two days, 96.4 per cent railwaymen exercised their voting rights. Almost 90 per cent railwaymen have favoured the strike call," general secretary of Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh and vice-president of NFIR J G Mahurkar said.

The strike ballot was conducted at platform number one of Vadodara railway station and simultaneous arrangements were done at all railway stations, including Anand, Nadiad, Petlad, Khambhat, among others under the jurisdiction of Vadodara railway division.

Apart from Vadodara division, railwaymen also exercised their voting right at five other divisions, including Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Ratlam, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

With majority of employees in favour of strike that can effectively paralyze the entire Indian Railways network, NFIR's steering committee will declare its decision regarding the strike during its meeting scheduled on January 29 and January 30 at Delhi.

NFIR's general secretary M Raghavaiah has already sent a strong message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct the finance ministry to consider all the demands without further delay to avert the strike.

NFIR's demands includes merger of 50 per cent dearness allowance (DA) in basic pay as DA portion has touched 100 per cent because inflation has not been controlled by the government.

The railway union has also demanded entry grade pay of Rs 4,200 to station masters whose recruitment prescribed qualification is graduate. According to the union, station masters are performing multifarious duties apart from being in-charge of station. The present grade pay of Rs 2,800 is very poor and is not commensurate with their work load and responsibilities.

- The Times of India

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