DEFEAT THE DRACONIAN MOVE OF RAILWAY
PROTEST AGAINST RBE NO. (NIL)/ 2022
Railway Board has issued the above order dated 30/08/2022, which have the potential to thwart everything we had earned through the sufferings and fights of generations together.
- Unilateral and unlawful anti-running staff order:
The order says that a committee of Executive Directors were appointed on 8/2/22 to examine the present system of crew review (review of cadre strength) and recommend modalities for periodic balancing of excess/ shortage of such staff between division/ Zonal Railways. The recommendations were accepted by Railway Board and orders issued within a very short period of just six months!Appointment of such a committee, its terms of reference, and recommendations were kept secret. None of the stake holders were consulted or allowed to represent. The recommendations were not revealed and discussed with recognized unions, in gross violation of the proclaimed Participation of Railway Employees in Management (PREM). This itself reveals the nefarious intention of Railway Board.We have the experience of HPC, HSLRC & Task force committee in the recent past. Railway took six years to appoint the HPC, committee took 3 years to submit its report and Railway Board again took 2 years to take decision on it.
This secret committee, its hasty recommendations and too fast acceptance are to cancel the little benefits of those committees and also to push the running staff to pre – independence era, while the country is celebrating azaadi ka amrut mahotsav!.
We should condemn the unlawful, unjust and inhuman unilateral decision.
- 10% OUTRIGHT SURRENDER OF LOCO RUNNING STAFF:
Para ‘a’ of the order impose outright surrender of 10,000 loco running staff by abandoning the 10% & 3.5% additional sanction to compensate the loss of manpower due to uneven flow of trains and allowance for yearly growth in traffic respectively.During the regime of past 30 years’ new economic policy, Railways got converted as a commercial institution functioning on the principle of market. Entire rules – BPC rules, Marshalling rules, maintenance schedules of rolling stock, signals, track etc. were made flexible and creamy. Huge difference between the numbers of UP and DOWN trains (traffic fluctuation) became the order of the day. The 10% additional posts on account of traffic fluctuation is meant to compensate the loss of manpower on pilot movement for balancing.Now RB want to shatter this 10% by squeezing running staff.
3.5% additional sanction on account of expected growth if traffic itself was too inadequate as the actual growth was more than 10%. Railway Board’s projection of traffic growth (goods) for Financial Year 2022 is 9.4% and that of coaching revenue is more than 100%. The meagre 3.5% allowance is totally inadequate.
Para No. ‘p’ of the same order endorses that RRB selection is a 3 year long process. In other words, a post created in 2022 will remain vacant for 3 or 4 years. The everlasting huge vacancy in running cadre is the result of such a delayed selection.
Elimination of 3.5% additional posts will result in increasing the everlasting vacancies from present 20/25% to 30/35% within a short while.
The recommendation of Fast track Committee 2019 to empanel 200% candidates through RRB to facilitate ready availability of fresh hands still remain in files.
- Inhuman attack on 30% leave reserve & 10% trainee reserve.
Para ‘b’ of the order ask the zonal railways to sanction leave reserve on the basis of actual leave days and training days, instead of 30%. Nowhere leave is sanctioned above 10% citing shortage and heavy flow of trains. No crew controller or railway doctor can feel happy of granting leave for all requests for a single day throughout his service. Hundreds of applications for voluntary retirements are resting on the tables of officers for want of replacement.The highest rate of leave reserve for running staff was achieved through vigorous agitations in the past. It is 20% for station masters and 12% for others. The reason is that, the running job shall not be kept pending not even for an hour. Nobody can decide todays train to run tomorrow or a day train to run in night. An office file may be kept pending for years.(Appointment of HPC was delayed by 6 years. Railway Board took 3 years to study its report.) There will be no much harm for giving 100% leave on a day for office staff particularly for officers. We do so on every Saturday and Sunday. One man is sufficient to keep the office open and to do the emergency work. Even the railways proved unaffected if entire officers in railways take 100% leave on a day when they resorted mass casual leave in protest against fixing responsibility with officers for the most shameful Gaizal accident. A commercial clerk or a technician can be asked to take double duty for granting leave for another. Now the fate of Station Masters category in whole Indian Railways too became so, which is truly a safety hazard. Over-working of Loco Pilots is the most dangerous one. That is why the highest percentage of leave reserve granted to running category.
Leave reserve is not for leave alone. PME, suspension, put off (book off) from duty, enquiry, Learning Road, absents, LWP and other duty too come under the leave reserve.
Railway Board objected reduction of duty hours before HPC and all earlier committees citing acute shortage of staff as a reason for exceeding working hours. But the fact is that they purposefully maintain the vacancies so.
Now everywhere there is 25/30% vacancy in higher grade while ALPs are sufficient or even surplus to book as Guards.
In fact the Railway administration is trying to say that the small cage is sufficient for a Lion, the king of forest, seeing him in a zoo.
- Extension of crew beat and Relocation of depots are recommendations beyond the terms of reference.
The term of reference of the committee was only one – to examine the present system of crew review. But para ‘c’ of the order asks to extend crew beat to minimum 250 kms and para ‘d’ ask to relocate the crew booking depots with 250 kms in between.Railway Board claimed that 8 hours duty could not be achieved (and hence rule cannot be changed) due to poor infra structure of insufficient line capacity, bottlenecks, line congestion, etc. Now the same board asks to extend beat to achieve 12 hours duty at every stretch and asks thousands of people to shift their house and family to a distant place only to ensure that none to get relief at 8 hours duty.
- Protest reduction of out station rest:
Para ‘i’ of the order is so magnanimous to give the liberty to its employees to work with lesser rest of 6 hours instead of 8 hours from outstation. Minimum 8 hours rest at outstation was one of the favourable outcome of HPC. But railway did not allow the benefit to staff though the decision was taken in 2018. Now they want to fix the responsibility of working without proper rest on the ill-fated employee who succumb to the pressure of Railway administration to work under rest, by describing the under- rest working as an option of the employee for his benefits, if an accident happens.
- Is the norms for Management of excess/ surplus running staff ridiculous?
It is certainly ridiculous to break the heads of five Executive directors and the Members of the board on how to manage the excess running staff when acute shortage everywhere and there was no past history of surplus. But Railway officers have heated their brains and the para ‘k’ to ‘n’ of the order is its outcome.
National Monetisation Pipeline envisages monetisation of KRCL, 4 hill Railways, 638 kilometers of Dedicated Freight Corridor and also 1400 kms of Railway track in 2023. Monetization of KRCL means 800 running staff become surplus. Monetisation of 1400 kms of track may mean surplus of 5000 running staff of East Coast Railway or some other small Zonal railways. Para ‘k’ to ‘n’ of the order is intended to empower respective PCPOs to order transfer to those employees to other distant railways either temporarily or permanently.
Comrades, this order is a multi-pronged monster created by the most dangerous brains to attack the running staff first and to demolish our Railways even.
We have to protest it tooth and nail.
*RAISE OUR PROTEST
JOIN TOGOTHER TO FIGHT
FIGHT TO PROTECT OUR JOB
AND TO SAVE THE RAILWAYS*
K. C. JAMES,
Jt. Secretary General