Friday, November 13, 2009

SRUT’s Struggle-Back ground

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you are aware that SRUT has started its action on 12 October by gathering and staying overnight on the street in front of the Transport ministry and submitting the demand letter to the government during its cabinet weekly meeting in order to get the real attentions from The Transport Minister and The Prime Minster on the recent train fatal accident that caused by the Fatigue of Locomotive Driver and the malfunctioned Safety System (Vigilance Device or so called Deadman system). But this action did not get attention from the Transport Ministry and the government or even from the Media as expected.
So the union had to upgrade its movement. Since 16 October, SRUT has requested the railway workers and its members throughout the country to join in the nationwide industrial actions to response to the irresponsibility and ignorance of its Railway management, Transport Ministry and the Government on the shortage of Railwaymen especially the locomotive driver and the safety standard of the railway operation. The nationwide industrial action started by slowing down work of Locomotive Drivers, Driver Assistants and Technicians and the action has been developed to work stoppage by taking voluntary sick leaves a few days later.
In response to the union action, the Government, Transport Ministry and Railway Governor has attacked the union hard by releasing the real nasty propaganda against the union, emphasizing that the accident was caused by human error only and insisting that the Vigilance device (safety system) is only a supplementary device for the railway safety and it is not important for the safety measure because the Locomotive driver, driver assistant are already there which is enough for the safety in driving the train. We all know that this is extremely wrong and purposely wrong information to the public and media. All modes of Transport must have the safety device and system and can not just rely on the human only. And now they, the government, transport ministry and railway governor, have joined hands together and announced to speed up the Restructuring Plan of the railway within 3 week-time.
There are all sorts of fault rumors that are causing misunderstanding among the public, these are a set up by management against the union. Some branch committee members were transferred immediately within 24 hours without any reasonable grounds. All the guilt and bad images were dumped on the union. The union was pushed to become a public defendant.
The Transport Minister, management and the government response to the union action by amending the related rules and regulations in order to recruit those 120 students newly graduated with no real experiences from Railway Engineering School and some 20 retired locomotive drivers to drive the train to replace those drivers and assistants who join the action with the union. This is extremely dangerous to every life concerned; they just don’t care the safety of passenger and workers but only want to defeat the union unreasonably.
Yesterday, The State Enterprise Workers’ Relation Confederation (SERC), comprising of unions in public services, transport, electricity, water supplies, energy, banks etc., and ITF Coordinating Committee of Thailand have read out their statements in the press conference and declared to the public that they will fully support the fight and struggle of SRUT. On coming 26 October, 43 SERC affiliated unions will meet together to discuss and set their strategic movement to help and support the SRUT struggles by all possible means.
This morning (22 October) SRUT’s committee went to the Crime Suppression Division, Office of Command, Thai Royal Police to file charges against the management on violation and not complying with the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was made with the union in year 2001, 2002 and January 2009. In the agreements which stated that they would fix, repair, and look into all kinds of maintenance in order to ensure the diesel locomotive, passenger cars, and other components of the train to be in ready condition before running the train. The management has never complied with these agreements until the latest fatal accidents occurred and blame only workers and when the workers refuse to drive the trains that are not in proper condition to run especially when concerning the safety devices, then the all fault will be again thrown on the workers and penalty would be instantly given to them.
Below are the issues that SRUT has been fighting against:
Safety Measures on Train:
No proper safety measure and device on 90 % of existing trains, not comply with the rule and regulations of The State Railway Act and the CBA made with the union on 14 August 2001, 4 December 2002 and 23 January 2009. In the agreements which stated that they would fix, repair, and look into all kinds of maintenance in order to ensure the diesel locomotive, passenger cars, and other components of the train to be in ready condition before running the train. The management has never complied with these agreements until the latest fatal accidents occurred and blame only workers and when the workers refuse to drive the trains that are not in proper condition to run especially when concerning the safety devices, then the all fault will be again thrown on the workers and penalty would be instantly given to them.
Mismanagement by the Governor:
The ignorance on safety measures for passengers and workers, corruption, violation on CBA made with union and only blames the workers when problems arise without acceptance the fact that the management themselves are at fault and have never so far accepted the fact that the trains are not in the condition to run.
Fatigue (Kills) of workers:
The shortage and limitation of the railway workforce which was the cabinet’s resolution, many drivers have to continuously work without proper rest.
Privatization:
The announcement by the government to speed up Restructuring Plan within 3- week time. But at the same time, the earlier agreement between the union and cabinet’s
representatives made after the latest nationwide strike in June, is still there. The agreement states that any changes or amendments in The State Railway that may affect the working conditions of railway workers must have the union’s involvement and consent before proceeding.
**********

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