Our AILRSA South Zone agitation is more than justified

 

Statement by All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA), South Zone


On the first year remembrance of the Orissa Coromandel train accident on June 2, 2023, another three-train collision accident occurred on June 2, 2024 in the Ambala division of Punjab. But what are the measures taken by the Railway Administration for the many accidents that have occurred in the intervening period?

The railway management has removed loco pilots and railway employees from service without trial/enquiry under Rule 14(ii), largely ignoring Supreme Court guidelines, DoPT orders. It never tried to fix the real cause for loco pilots crossing the red signal which leads to accidents. As a result, repeated accidents continue.

If we look at the details of the three train accidents that have occurred in Punjab, the fact that the driver of the freight train who passed the red signal on the DFCCIL line and collided with another Goods train, the accident occurred on the third night shift of this freight train driver. During the last ten days of his work, details will come to light that he has done seven night shifts and one early morning shift. Apart from this, it is known that the long working hours are around 14 hours. Proper weekly rest is also not provided. 30 hours is not provided after his daily travel rest of 16 hours. Therefore, fatigue caused by accumulated sleep debt, insufficient periodical rest, continuous night duties is the cause of this accident.

Apart from this, we are at a critical juncture in the struggle for our rights today, with vacancies not being filled for nearly 5 years, and our rest and leaves being denied due to under-staffing.

As confirmed by the Regional Labor Commissioner and honourable High Court of Karnataka, as per Hours of Working and Period of Rest Rules (HWPR 2005) we are required to be given 30 hours weekly rest (PR) after our HQ rest of 16 hours. Not only denying us the weekly rest that we are supposed to get as per the rules, the railway management is trying to stop our agitation by taking punitive measures.

Safety issues arising from continuous night work is another major issue. Several study findings and accident investigation reports, Psycho Technical Cell/RDSO recommendation, High Level Committee (HPC) recommendation have indicated that train drivers working night shift for more than two consecutive night shifts greatly reduces mental alertness and increases the risk of accidents.

Railway administration, however, forces us to work four consecutive night shifts. This puts us, our passengers, and the entire railway operation at risk.

Continuous struggle is required. We must all come together and continue the fight for the rights that have been denied to us for so long. The struggle is aimed at passenger welfare, our health, family welfare and safety of railway operations. We should assert our rights with determination without fear of any punitive action by the railway administration.

Over the years petitioning various levels of railway officials and ministers, holding dharnas, democratic trade union activities such as hunger strike did not work. They have refused to implement even after judgment of Regional Labor Commissioner (RLC) and CAT & High Court. Whereas, when accidents occur due to the above reasons, placing the blame solely on our workers and awarding maximum punishment and removal without trial under Rule 14(ii) is done.

If we strike against these, passengers and the country will be affected. What other option do we have in such a situation?

In this case, the AVAILING OUR LONG OVERDUE RIGHTS struggle that AILRSA South Zone is currently carrying out is necessary to protect us from the accident’s situations.

 

Our determination

We must all come together and continue to fight for our rights. This is important not only for our health and family welfare but also for the safety of railway passengers. The punitive measures of the railway administration do not discourage us; in fact, they strengthen our resolve. Involvement of hundreds of loco pilots and assistant loco pilots in this agitation voluntarily gives positive hopes.

We will continue to strengthen the struggle for our rights. At this time, our unity and determination are essential. We invite all loco pilots to continue this struggle to secure our long-standing rights.

AILRSA SOUTH ZONE

 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments