Indian Railways staff demand bonus, threaten strike

If productivity-linked bonus is not released, train services may be stopped for a few hours on Oct 22

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Members of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) which has a membership of about 14 lakh, has threatened ‘direct action’ if the bonuses of the employees are no paid. The Union has pointed out that the employees have been working hard, even amidst the pandemic, to ensure smooth functioning, and they deserve the productivity-linked annual bonus, which is usually given before the Navaratri.

According to AIRF, if the productivity-linked bonus is not paid before October 20, the employees will stop work on October 22. Central Railway’s National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) has threatened to stop services for two hours on October 22, if the bonus is not released by October 21. Those Railway staff involved in providing essential services in Mumbai will also be part of the strike. If the strike takes place, train services may come to a halt for a couple of hours, for the very first time in over four decades.

Apparently, it is the Finance Ministry that is not taking any favourable action in this regard, and lending its approval to the Railway Board in this matter.

At a recent meeting, the anti-labour policies of the government were also discussed. Demand has been made to restore the old pension scheme and also release the dearness allowance/relief.

It was decided that Save Railway-Save Nation Campaign Committees will be formed at all 7,600 railway stations across India. These Committees will rope in local rail users as well as prominent individuals to help improve their effectiveness, and work towards halting the privatisation and corporatisation of the Indian Railways.