Monday, March 28, 2011

German train drivers extend strike

By Ulrich Rippert
10 March 2011

The German train drivers’ union, the GDL, extended its strike action Wednesday. Following three lightning strikes in passenger transport, the GDL declared at a Monday press conference in Frankfurt-Main that it would broaden its efforts to include freight transport.

GDL chief Claus Weselsky told the media that the results of a strike ballot found that 92 percent of GDL members employed by German Rail (Deutsche Bahn, DB) and 96 percent of its members employed by private rail companies voted in favor of further industrial action and an open-ended strike.

The result was higher than the union bureaucracy had anticipated. Drivers employed by private companies earn up to 30 percent less than their colleagues at DB. Their anger and readiness to take militant action was clearly expressed in the ballot.

“The situation is serious,” Weselsky said and called upon the employers to “finally submit a negotiable offer.” At the same time he rejected “for the time being” an offer of arbitration from the former SPD party leader and defense minister, Peter Struck. One day earlier Struck had offered his services as a mediator in the wage dispute.

A strike by train drivers in the transport network could have a considerable impact on broad sections of industry. The steel industry, in particular, is one of the main customers of rail freight. The auto industry is also dependent on rail transport for auto parts and the shipment of its products to North Sea ports such as Emden for export.

The GDL is demanding a new national contract for all of the 26,000 drivers employed in main line, metro and freight railways that would guarantee a minimum income based on the level of wages paid by the Deutsche Bahn. The union is also asking for a five percent wage increase based on the current DB drivers’ contract.

According to the GDL, a DB train driver currently earns on average €2,700 (gross) per month. This means that despite the fact that they carry out demanding and highly responsible work, these employees make much less than the average earnings of industrial workers (€3,237 per month). Wages for drivers on private railways average just under €1,900 per month, an unacceptable sum, the GDL says. Working conditions, rest periods and social safeguards are also significantly worse in private rail companies.

In addition to the wage demand, the GDL is calling for a guarantee that the contract will be observed in the event of any change of employer, a uniform workweek of 38 hours, minimum qualification standards for drivers, and protection for workers who are rendered incapable of continuing to drive a train.

The train drivers face a wave of opposition to their demands from employer associations, the government, much of the media and, of particular significance, the German Trade Union Federation (DGB).

Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer described the GDL demands as completely exaggerated and called upon the union to exercise “moderation”. The leading private rail company in Germany, Veolia Transport, announced it would take legal action. “We are considering our options, whether the public interest is at risk and what legal means we could take against the strike,” CEO, Ragnar Nordström told the newspaper Tagesspiegel.

In the Bild newspaper the president of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), Dieter Hundt called for restrictions to be imposed on the right to strike. “Non-craft unions should not be allowed to strike as long as there is a contract applicable to most union members in a company,” Hundt said.

The BDA president then received the backing of the chairman of the DGB, Michael Sommer. In the same edition of Bild, Sommer attacked the GDL, declaring that “it had completely renounced any claim upon the solidarity and cooperation of the unions.” The GDL demands were divisive and selfish, according to Sommer. What the train drivers gain “will be at the expense of all other railway workers,” Sommer said, clearly trying to divide railway workers and incite opposition to the train drivers.

Together with Hundt, Sommer called upon the German government to introduce a law that makes a single contract binding for all employees in a company. Such a measure is aimed at so-called non craft unions such as the GDL, the pilots’ union, Cockpit and the medical workers’ union, Marburger Bund. If implemented, it would amount to destruction of these unions.

There are many indications that the drivers’ strike could quickly develop into a power struggle with the government in which the DGB would be clearly lined up with the latter against the workers.

The GDL leadership is entirely unprepared for such a struggle. As the representative of a profession in which a strike by a relative few can have broad repercussions, the GDL leaders hope they can achieve more concessions than other unions without directly challenging the capitalist system. This stance, however, completely underestimates the scale of the economic crisis and the determination of the employer associations, the government and DGB to defend the capitalist profit system.

Three years ago, train drivers also conducted a months-long labor dispute and received much popular support. In the event, the GDL leadership caved in to political pressure at a crucial moment and suffocated the strike on the basis of a lousy compromise.

The current strike once again raises fundamental political questions for train drivers. In order to achieve their legitimate claims, train drivers must break with their established union and link up with other sections of the working class to organize a broad resistance against wage and welfare cuts.

This requires, however, a political strategy that is opposed to the logic of the capitalist profit system, which places profit margins above the needs of working people. Major companies such as the railways must be wrested from the control of the financial aristocracy and placed at the service of society as a whole. This requires a new perspective and can only be achieved by workers breaking with their old, national organizations and joining together in Europe and worldwide in the struggle for a socialist reorganization of society.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/mar2011/trai-m10.shtml

Sunday, March 27, 2011





THE TIMES OF INDIA

BJP comes to UPA aid on pension bill

TNN, Mar 25, 2011, 04.08am IST

NEW DELHI: The government survived a major embarrassment on Thursday when the BJP offered it support to overcome Left's resistance in the introduction of pension regulatory bill, presenting a contrast from when the two squared off in a bitter debate over the cash-for-votes scam.

Congress returned the favour later by agreeing to defer a bill on science and technology to respect the sentiments of senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, just when it was set to sail through. The give-and-take was a far cry from recent bitterness between Congress and BJP over a spate of corruption charges.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-03-25/india/29188394_1_senior-bjp-leader-development-authority-bill-pension-fund-regulatory

The Economics Times.

India introduces pension bill in parliament

Mar 24, 2011, 03.26pm IST

NEW DELHI: India's finance minister introduced a long-awaited pension bill in parliament on Thursday that would pave the way for private players in the sector and help cut government spending.

The Pension Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) bill, which would allow part investment of the corpus in the stock market, will take time for parliamentary approval as the current session of parliament ends on Friday.

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-03-24/news/29181413_1_pension-bill-new-pension-system-pfrda

Pranab thanks Sushma for passage of Pension Bill

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New Delhi (25 Mar ,2011),(pti).

In the midst of all the sparring between BJP and government in Parliament, a rare instance of cordiality was witnessed in the Lok Sabha today when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee thanked the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj for BJP's support to the Pension Bill.

The UPA government found itself at its wits end in the Lower House this morning when CPM member Basudev Achariya asked for a division of votes on the introduction of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011.

"We are opposing introduction of the Bill. I am asking for division instead of a voice vote,"Acharia said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, several ministers and members were not present in the House.

Acharia was seen urging senior BJP leader L K Advani to support him."We were opposing this legislation during UPA-I. They (government) are bringing it now,"he was heard telling Advani.

During UPA-I, Left parties with over 60 members were key outside supporters of the government.

However, BJP supported the government and the Bill was introduced.

http://www.indiareport.com/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/1019393/National/1/22/1

Union Cabinet of India Approved the Pension Bill

Current Affairs Category: National | India, 2011 Current Affairs, March 2011 Current Affairs
Current Affairs Week: 14 Mar 2011 To 20 Mar 2011

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Union Cabinet of India, on 17 March 2011, approved the PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) Bill and the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Bank Laws) Amendment Bill.
The PFRDA bill seeks to establish a statutory pension regulator and also allow up to 26 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on pension fund management companies.The objective of the State Bank of India(Subsidiary Bank Laws) Amendment Bill 2009 is to empower the government to fix the authorised capitals of SBI subsidiaries and appoint managing directors. SBI has five associate banks or subsidiaries; State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore.

State Bank of India (Subsidiary Bank Laws) Amendment Bill 2009 also has provisions for fixation of terms and office, salary and allowances of MDs of these subsidiaries by the government.These amendmants were needed because as these powers were vested with RBI from whom the ownership of these banks was transferred to the Union government of India few years ago.


The PFRDA Bill was originally introduced in Parliament in 2005 and after that it was sent to the Standing Committee on Finance. But any political consensus could not be reached on that. If the bill is enacted, the interim regulator which is currently set up under an executive order would get legal backing and would have the power to regulate all pension funds and enforce contracts

Pension bill introduced in Lok Sabha with BJP support

Published: Thursday, Mar 24, 2011, 15:21 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

For a change, BJP today came to the rescue of the government saving it from embarrassment as the Left parties pressed for a division on a bill to regulate pension funds at the introduction stage itself.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal was among a few senior ministers present and the attendance on the treasury benches was thin ringing alarm bells for the government.

The treasury benches appeared to be caught unawares as speaker Meira Kumar ordered division on introduction of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011 at the insistence of CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia.

"We are opposing introduction of the Bill. I am asking for division instead of a voice vote," Acharia said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, leader of the house Pranab Mukherjee, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, several ministers and members were not present in the House.

Bansal cited rules which state that the member has to make a brief statement giving reasons for opposing a bill. The person moving the bill is also allowed to make a statement.

Manish Tewari (Cong) pointed out that the rules state that a notice to oppose the introduction of a bill, addressed to the secretary general, has to be given by the member by 10.00am on the day on which the motion for leave to introduce the Bill is included in the list of business.

The speaker gave a ruling in favour of division.

Acharia was seen urging senior BJP leader LK Advani to support him. "We were opposing this legislation during UPA-I. They (government) are bringing it now," he was heard telling Advani.

During UPA-I, the Left parties with over 60 members, were key outside supporters of the government.

The bill was introduced after a division of votes which showed as many as 115 members backing the proposed legislation, 43 opposing it and one member abstaining from voting. As many as 159 member were present in the 543-member House.

Later, a junior minister said the prime minister and Mukherjee, who were scheduled to be present in the Rajya Sabha, could not make it to the Lok Sabha as the lobbies were cleared. After the lobbies are cleared, no member is allowed to enter the house.

BJP comes to UPA aid on pension bill

TNN, Mar 25, 2011, 04.08am IST

NEW DELHI: The government survived a major embarrassment on Thursday when the BJP offered it support to overcome Left's resistance in the introduction of pension regulatory bill, presenting a contrast from when the two squared off in a bitter debate over the cash-for-votes scam.

Congress returned the favour later by agreeing to defer a bill on science and technology to respect the sentiments of senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, just when it was set to sail through. The give-and-take was a far cry from recent bitterness between Congress and BJP over a spate of corruption charges.

India introduces pension bill in parliament

24 Mar, 2011, 1526 hrs IST, Reuters


NEW DELHI: India's finance minister introduced a long-awaited pension bill in parliament on Thursday that would pave the way for private players in the sector and help cut government spending.

The Pension Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) bill, which would allow part investment of the corpus in the stock market, will take time for parliamentary approval as the current session of parliament ends on Friday.

The bill had failed to get parliamentary approval in the previous term of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government due to strong opposition from its then Left allies.

The coalition has the majority now to get it passed, and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has indicated it would not oppose the bill.

The proposed legislation was silent on allowing foreign companies to invest up to 26 percent in pension funds that was part of a draft, but said the government would separately announce foreign investment policy for the sector.

The bill provides powers to the PFRDA to oversee multiple pension funds in the country.

All the employees of the federal government except the armed forces, who have joined since January 2004, would be covered by the proposed National Pension System under the new legislation.

Twenty seven states have agreed to join the new pension system, the bill said, under the proposed law that is expected to provide social security to millions of employees and funds for infrastructure sector.

The budget session of Parliament is over. It ended on Friday soon after the budget 2011-12 was passed. Typically, the budget session continues into April with a recess in between. But with state elections coming up at the same time, it’s been cut short.


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The last week of the budget session saw a flurry of reform-oriented bills introduced in Parliament. Topping the list was the bill for the Goods and Services Tax. Another is the much-awaited banking bill. That proposed legislation would give the Reserve Bank the extra powers it needs to give industrial houses banking licenses.

A third crucial bill brought in during the week was the one intended to reform India’s pension industry. The PFRDA bill allows for a portion of the pension corpus to be invested in stock markets. Significantly though, it doesn’t mention foreign companies. The bill’s original draft allowed 26% FDI in pension funds.

Switching to other news, a fresh set of norms could soon be put in place for India’s mutual fund industry. Market regulator Sebi plans to bring in additional regulations to prevent distributors from mis-selling mutual funds. Last month it sent funds a note on practices used to sell schemes. It then held a follow-on meeting with the larger asset management companies. There are roughly one hundred thousand distributors in India. And since Sebi can’t regulate them directly, it’s going through asset management companies.

ONGC’s overseas arm OVL may have paid top dollar to acquire Imperial Energy, but that deal is now under fire. India’s top auditor, the CAG, says the acquisition has resulted in a loss of nearly Rs1,200 crore. That estimate is for the period from January 2009 to March 2010. The CAG says Imperial’s main Siberian oil field only produces some 17,000 barrels per day. OVL’s original target was 35,000 barrels per day.

Airline passenger traffic has shown steady growth in February, despite the hike in oil prices. Air India’s domestic traffic increased 15.8%, while Kingfisher’s went up by 19%. IndiGo saw an 18.7% increase and SpiceJet’s growth was at 13.8%. Overall growth on domestic routes stood at 18.5%.

Staying with airlines, private carriers only have a few days left to hire dedicated ground handlers at top destinations. The aviation ministry has told airlines to outsource ground handling at the six biggest airports. They have until the end of this month to comply. Airlines have appealed against the order in the Supreme Court.

And in a separate development, SpiceJet has suspended controversial pilot Garima Passi. The move came after reports that she fared badly during pilot training in the US. Earlier, the airline fired two other pilots for allegedly getting their flying licenses using forged documents.

Political agitations affect railway service

| New Delhi, March 26, 201

. The protesters have threatened to cut off essential supplies to Delhi in the coming days such as milk, water, vegetables and petroleum products if their demands are not met by the government.

A string of political agitations has virtually stopped the Indian Railways in its tracks.

As Jats threaten a siege of Delhi, the damages calculated by the railways have already amounted to, on an average, 10 trains getting cancelled daily.

According to the railways, 3,611 trains were cancelled and 3,100 more diverted between April 2010 and this March because of political agitations. This not only resulted in a loss of Rs 1,700 crore to the railways but dented the on-time performance of trains by 30 per cent.

The protests were spread far and wide across the country - from Rajasthan (where the Gujjars agitated) and Andhra Pradesh (where supporters are demanding a separate Telangana state) to Jharkhand and West Bengal (where the writ of Maoists run), and Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (where the Jats are agitating).

The agitations affected more than 7,000 trains between April 2010 and March 2011. Not to be missed, the movement of more than 12,000 trains was also affected during the same period because of law and order problems.

Satellite-based system for tracking trains

Press Trust of India, March 27, 2011 10:08 IST


New Delhi: Tired of getting inaccurate and snail-paced information on movement of trains?

Help is expected soon with the Railways going ahead with the Rs. 110 crore satellite-based system to replace manual tracking of trains to provide its exact position on real-time basis.

The real-time train information system (RTIS) aims to provide train running information to the public through internet, SMS on mobile phones, call centres and through train indication boards at stations.

It will also give information to onboard passengers through the provision of display system inside the coaches.


"Efforts are on to replace the manual recording system with RTIS by connecting 8,000 trains and 8,177 stations across the country," said a senior Railway Ministry official.

To keep track of trains, currently station masters call up the control room at the divisional headquarters every time a train passes their station. Because of this manually controlled system, the information is sometimes inadequate.

As per the plan, Railways is to install loco devices in all locomotives and stations to receive dynamic data on train movement through satellite.

Name of the incoming train, speed, time duration and all relevant information required by passengers will be made available automatically once the system becomes operational.

"Trials are being carried out in certain Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains on a pilot project and the results are very encouraging," said the official.

The system developed by IIT-Kanpur and RDSO uses global positioning system (GPS) and global system (GS) for mobile communication technology to transmit information.

Digital mapping of 8,177 stations of Indian Railways have so far been done. "Since all our control offices are now computerised the system will be utilised for tracking freight trains as well," said the official.

"One can even track a particular train on internet through the RTIS," the official added.

Other advantages of this system is that locomotive running information shall be available in the server which can be analysed to improve its efficiency.

Train running information like location, speed, direction on real-time basis can be analysed to improve the train running in a particular section.

Digital map of the railway station can also be used for linking various station data, yard information, signal information, city and hospital information which will be useful during any emergency.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AILRSA SWR

4th Zonal Biennial

General Body Meeting

On 08.04.2011 from 9 hrs.

At EMS Bhavan,

Near to ISCKON Temple, Yeswanthpur,

Inauguration: Com. MN Prasad, Secretary General AILRSA

Chief Guest: Com. VJK Nair, All India Vice President, CITU

Speakers:

Com. L Mony, Central President, AILRSA

Com. KAS Mani, Central Vice President, AILRSA

Com. G Rajan, EX CVP AISMA, Legal Advisor, NREU.

At 16 hrs:

Formation meeting of Reception Committee

All India Conference of AILRSA

Proposed to conduct at Bangalore

In May 2012.

Dear Comrade,

All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) is a fighting organisation in Indian Railways comprising of Loco Pilots, Assistant Loco Pilots and Shunting Loco Pilots.

South Western Railway (Karnataka State) is getting an opportunity to host our 19th BGM at Bangalore in May 2012.

With the strong support of the different trade unions only we can able to take this challenge.

For discussing various aspects and for forming the reception committee we will like to invite you along with the representation of your Association on 08.04.2011 by 16 hours at EMS Bhavan, Mahalakshmi lay out, Near to ISKCON, Yeswanthpur.

AILRSA All India Secretary General Com. MN Prasad, All India President Com. L Mony, All India Vice President Com. KAS Mani and other leaders will be attending the meeting.

Yours Comradely

Bangalore

16.03.11

(C.Sunish)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Decision of Extended CWC meeting was held at Ambedkar Bhawan / New Delhi on 01.03.2011 from 11 hrs following the Rally / Dharna program on 28.02.2011


The program on 28th Feb’2011 is no doubt attractice and impressive but still some deficiencies are observed, including non-participation of some important leaders, which has to be discussed self critically at the respective levels.

After threadbare discussion on organization position, prevailing situation and outcome of meeting with Hon’ble Minister for Labour, the extended CWC took the following decisions:

1. Within 15 days the Divisional Committees must meet in extended form in presence of Zonal Secretaries, if possible otherwise any one amongst of General Secretary, Zonal President, Joint General Secretary and review their performance in organizing Rally / Dharna program on 28th Feb’ 2011 and take the measures to rectify accordingly, if any weaknesses are noticed.

2. Similarly, Zonal Committee meeting in extended form should also be held to review the performance. A report of both the meeting should be sent to Central without fail.

3. While appreciating the efforts of Coms who are organizing the ‘FIRE’ the CWC advised to all to take step to make wide circulation of ‘FIRE’ Hindi and English edition. The both organizer should have a better co-ordination, so that same matter may come in both the editions.

4. In case our matter is not sent to tribunal as assure then a protest through Hunger Strike program for 24 hrs followed by a massive demonstration at the time of conclusion of Hunger Strike program should be organized on 6th April, 2011 where there is no state election. Where state election is scheduled on 6th April 2011 the date may be shifted for a day or two earlier or latter conveniently. Seek the support of the local MPs, other democratic organizations and media to our cause.

5. May Day should be observed with massive mobilization of Loco Running Staff.

6. A well organized convention in bigger town by different zones should be organized on demand safety in the month of May 2011 at the convenience of zones.

7. Prepare for struggle in case our all democratic process fails to get redressal of demands.

8. Com, Jit Singh Tank will go for registration of renewal of our organization in 1st week of April, 2011 hence those who could not sent Membership of 2010 as yet, kindly send without fail latest by mid of March, 2010

For information to all concerned: -

Hon’ble Minister for Labour could not meet us on 28.02.2011 as sought for due to his sickness but he met us on 01.03.2011 at 12:30 hrs and not only agreed but ordered to excelerate the process to send our case to Tribunal if at all it could not be sent as yet for any reason. We also met his Chief Secretary under his advice who also assured us to check up the po0sition and exelerate the process, if at all not sent by the time. Com, Basudeo Acharya, Hon’ble MP was with us and Chief Secretary assured to intimate the position shortly.

We have also submitted our Memo to Hon’ble Minister of Railway but could not meet because she was in Kolkata as we were told by her PA.





Date: 02.03.2011 M. N. Prasad

Secretary General

AILRSA

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Allowances which increase by 25%. wef 01.01.2011

As per the calculation the DA increases to 51% w.e.f. 01-01-2011. As the DA crosses 50% from 01-01-2011 the following allowances will automatically be increased by 25% as per the railway boards orders provided in the brackets. The existing amount of allowances and the increased amount are provided here. Transport allowance,NDA,Family planning allowance,HRA, running allowance,ALK,&workshop incentive will have no change.

S.No

Allowance

R.B.E.No

Amount.Rs

S.No.


Allowance


R.B.E.No.


Amount Rs

Existing

Increased

Existing

Increased

1.

Children educational

197/2008

1000

1250

10.

break down

177/2009

80

100

2.

Hostel subsidy

197/2008

3000

3750

120

150

3.

Child care for disabled women employee

150/2008

1000

1250

160

200

4.

Washing

137/2008

60

75

200

250

R.P.F

25/2008

60

75

11.

Nurses

24/2008

5.

Cycle maintenance

115/2008

60

75

Nursing

3200

4000

6.

Night patrol(track man)

163/2008

6

8

Uniform

6000

7500

7.

N.H.A.

190/2008

170

213

Washing

300

375

212

265

12.

Bad climate

114/2008

400

500

280

350

Tribal area

166/2008

240

300

8.

T.A

192/2008

520

650

13.

Hill area

113/2008

600

750

460

575

480

600

400

500

14.

Remote locality

119/2008

340

425

A

2600

3250

210

263

2000

2500

Road mileage

16

20

B

2100

2625

08

10

1600

2000

9.

conveyance

140/2008

1120

1400

C

1500

1875

1680

2100

1200

1500

2070

2525

D

400

500

2430

3038

500

625

3000

3750

15

Engineering

180/2010

300

375

370

463

gatemen's

480

600

special

640

800

allowance

750

938

850

1063

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