Monday, October 5, 2009

To

The Editor,


Respected Sir,

Entire Loco Pilots of Indian Railway observe Fast for 24 hours from 00.00 Hrs of 08.10.2009 to 00.00 Hrs of 09.10.2009 nation wide and sit in Fast before the Parliament on 24th November, 2009.
This Association gave call to the entire Loco Pilots (Train Drivers) of Indian Railway to observe 24 Hrs Fast from 00.00 Hrs on 08.09.2009 whether they are working train or off duty. They will also sit in hunger fast in front of all major Rly stations
This Association was forced to take these extreme steps, in protest against the apathy shown by the Ministry of Railways towards their following demands.
A) Cancel the Order asking to work for 13 hours by the loco pilot and reduce the duty hours to 8 hours . Appoint judicial committee to review working conditions.
B) Calculate their allowance with the TA rate of Rs. 340/- instead of the arbitrary figure of Rs. 210/-.
C) Pay be raised at par with the responsibility attached to the post of Asst. Loco Pilot and they may not be treated in par with the lowest post in the Central Government service.
D) Different and distinct Pay be allowed to Loco Pilots manning Goods trains, Passenger trains and Super fast / High speed Express trains.

We had several trade union programs for the past two years to call the attention of the Ministry of Railways and the Government of India on our grievances, but nothing moved. We put up our grievances before about 400 Hon’ Members of Parliament. They were pleased to call the attention of Hon’ Minister of Railways, Smt. Mamta Banerjee and some of them raised the issue in both the houses.
After the Fast on 08th October 2009, we decided to sit in Fast in front of the Parliament on 24th November 2009. If all these peaceful programs do not persuade the Ministry of Railways to concede our demands, we have no other option other than to enter into a NATION-WIDE STRIKE. We earnestly request your whole hearted support in our plight.
From the introduction of the 6th Pay Commission this Union demanded to relook on the recommendation pertaining to the Pay allowed to the Loco Pilots. It is our view that the Pay recommended by the 6th CPC to Loco Pilots, especially the Assistant Loco Pilots not commensurate to the responsibility attached to the post.


The 6th CPC recommended a pay band which starts at Rs. 5200/- with a Grade pay of Rs. 1800/- for the lowest post in the Central Government service. For this lowest post a pass in matriculation with no other special skill are prescribed. Where as the Asst. Loco Pilots are given with a mere Rs. 100/- addition in the Grade Pay. Their entry Qualification is ITI, preferably Diploma in Engineering. Passing of a stringent psychological test, 10 months training in Train operations and a high medical standard equal to the Airline Pilots. Before the 6th CPC the difference existed between the lowest post and of the Asst. Loco Pilots was around Rs. 1500/- in monthly wages. The vertical and horizontal relativity of Pay has been totally smashed.
The same position now exists among the Loco Pilots, who works exclusively in Superfast and Express trains including Rajadhani, Shatabdi, Thurendu and of newly posted Loco Pilots in Goods trains. They are fitted in the same Grade Pay. The entire Loco Pilots in Express / Superfast train who got promotion after putting 15 to 20 years service with vast experience in operating trains feel they are being let down. World wide the high speed train drivers are placed in higher Pay considering their high skill, experience and the highest responsibility to operate these trains safely.
Besides these two grievances, the out of pocket expenditure incurred in the course of employment outside their normal posting area, they are being paid a TA rate which was raised to Rs. 340/- per day to the entire Govt. employees. But in case of Loco Pilots it was fixed at Rs. 210/- by the Ministry of Railways. This is abject discrimination, exploitation and against all cannon of justice. The Government of India decides one but the Railway Board decides another, in the matter of allowance as they are not under the Government of India or they have no binding on the Government policies.
Added to these disparities in Pay, their duty hours, weekly rest are also too bad than any other Government employee. In Central Government 5 days week has been introduced. But in the case of Loco Pilots they have to work train all the 365 days in an year. In the name of weekly rest, any break between duties if exceeds 22 hours is treated as a weekly rest.
Duty hours are fixed at 6 to 8 hours a day internationally, way back in 1919 by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Government of India was also a signatory to it. This was implemented in India for private employees also. But the duty hours of Loco Pilots is fixed at 13 hours by the Railway Board, as if they are not bound to the constitution of India, nor with the Government policies.



On 13th August 1973 the Government of India announced in GParliament that Loco Running staff need not work more than 10 ohours at a stretch. This solemn assurance, which was placed before this country through the Parliament not been honoured by the Railway Board even after passing 36 years.
The ‘Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railway Safety’ rightly pointed out this adamancy of Railway Board not to heed with Government policy and recommended not to exact work from Loco Pilots more than 8 hours to ensure safety of traveling public and for public good. On 14th FEB 2006 government of India assured that Ministry of Rlys will appoint a judicial committee to limit the duty Hrs to 8Hrs and to review other working conditions.

This association earnestly request your whole hearted support for achieving the above most genuine demands.






Ernakulam, L. MONY,
03.10.2009. Central President / AILRSA

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