Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hon’ble Minister for Labour,
Shram Sakthi Bhavan,
Govt of India,
New Delhi.

Respected Sir,

This Association represents the loco running staff of Indian Railways.

For the past two and a half years we are demanding to redress our grievances related to injustice is done by VI CPC before the Railway Board. We held various peaceful Trade Union activities before the Railway administration, several memorandums were placed before them. The Ministry of Labour seized the matter for conciliation. The adamant stand taken by the Railway Board in not conceding the demands, the conciliation before the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) New Delhi, ended with failure. This non-co-operative attitude and casual approach of Railway authority to our genuine demands has also been experienced by the RLC (C) too and has been recorded in the RLC proceeding. This attitude of Railway Management is nothing but a serious blow to the well settled democratic norms to solve the grievances of the workers peacefully rather a provocation to the workers for agitation, which we do not favour in the interest of national economy, traveling passengers and Rail users. The railway Management at one side could not given any sound reason for not conceding the demands but on the other-side dragging the issues either one or another unreasonable pretext. It is also unfortunate that Hon’ble MR is also turned her deaf ear to the genuine, justified and the reasonable grievances of Loco Running Staff of Indian Railways. In order to have a glimpse of the grievances of loco running staff of Indian Railways, we give a gist of them before your esteemed office.

The grievances are as follows.

The recommendation of the sixth CPC to allow a grade pay of Rs.1900/- to the post of Assistant Loco Pilot, that is just Rs.100 more than the lowest category of Central Govt employees, is a heart burning issue. The responsibilities attached to the post in running their train safely and punctually, their recruitment qualification prescribed, the highest medical standard that has to be maintained, the arduousness in performing the duty of Asst Loco Pilot is far higher than a lowest post in central Govt employee, in-addition, same Trg. Same responsibility and same punishment as like as Loco Pilot they have to bear, if any thing goes wrong, A mere Rs.100/- more than the lowest post is not commensurate to the work entrusted to them. Therefore we demanded to raise the Grade pay of Rs.1900/- to Rs.2800/- . Many categories in Railways especially the Goods Train Guard, who were in equal renumeration with them prior to IV CPC were elevated to Grade pay of Rs.2800/- the other posts in Railway and in central Govt establishment who were equal remuneration to them were found elevation to the Grade pay of Rs.2800, whereas the Asst Loco Pilot does not see a similar treatment to them, though the present nature of working attached to the post warrant to raise the Grade pay to Rs.2800, and thus discrimination and injustice is done to them.

Admitting the position the Railway Board had raised the Grade Pay from Rs.1900 to Rs.2400 for the 80% of ALP with effect from 01-05-2010 meeting our demand half way. Our demand to raise the Grade Pay to Rs.2800 is genuine and absolutely warranted on the reason enumerated above.
2. The Sixth CPC recommended to merge the Grade of Rs.5000-8000,5500-9000,6500-10500 and allowed Grade Pay of Rs.4200 to all. Equally it recommended that if functional difference existing between these Grades, merger should not be effected and distinct Grade Pay be given to each grade.

After considering the issue the Government decided to merge the first two Grades i.e. Rs.5000-8000 and Rs.5500- 9000 and allowed Grade Pay of Rs.4200 to them and third Grade of Rs.6500-10500 had allowed with the Grade Pay of Rs.4600.But in the case of Running Staff, Loco Pilot(Goods) in scale Rs.5000-8000,the Loco Pilot(Pass) in scale Rs.5500-9000 and the Loco Pilot(Mail) in scale Rs.6000-9800 not been considered in the light of the Sixth CPC recommendation that if functional difference exists it need not be merged. Still these three posts though functional difference do exists and elevation from one post to another considered as promotion involving selection are placed in the same Grade Pay of Rs.4200.In the light of the above position we demanded a different and distinctive Grade Pay be allowed to these three posts. Sir, to what extent it is justified to allot only one GP of Rs. 4200/- when all the grade of LPs has its functional differences and is a promotional channel where the selection is also involved. The Railway Administration so far did not give any sound reason for not conceding the demands but dragging the issues either one or another pretext.

3. The Sixth CPC allowed an onerous duty allowance ,considering the nature of duty attached to the category of Running Staff, but confined the post of Loco Pilot(Mail) and Loco pilot(Pass).It is our humble suggestion that the duty performed by the other category of Loco Running Staff, ie. The Loco Pilot (Goods), Shunting and Assistant Loco Pilot is equally onerous in nature, therefore all the categories of Running Staff should be allowed with the onerous duty allowance instead of confining to two categories. And also we demand that this should be treated as Pay and not as a mere allowance.

4. The duty hours, rest period, etc. are dealt with under the Hours of Employment Regulation in the Railways. The same is applicable for Loco Running Staff, but basing on some subsidiary rules in corporated by the Railways, the duty hours, rest etc. has been prescribed quite differently to others. In the HOER there is no upper limit prescribed for daily duty hours, in the hope the management will not exploit and force the workers to perform beyond certain extend. The factory Act, Plantation Workers Act and in most of such Acts there is a prescribed daily limit of work varying from 8 to 9 hours with a break of half an hour to one hour. But such provision not been in HOER of the Railways. But a limit of duty hours prescribed for a fortnight at 96 hours/104 hours. Taking this lacunae in the Act, they regularly extract work for 14 hours to 20 hours at a stretch from Loco Running Staff. The Periodical Rest (Weekly Rest ) for all other workers ranging from 42 hours to 54 hours, but in the case of Loco Running Staff it was prescribed to 22 hours or 30 hours that too no weekly, but monthly basis. To extract the fortnightly limit of duty hours of 96 hours and 104 hours, the Loco Running Staff are subjected to be in duty in all the 365 days of the year. It may be seen as violation of Human Rights.

It may be noted that prescribing duty hours, rest, etc. is the prerogative of the Ministry of Labour. No management either in private or the State have any right to prescribe Hours Of Employment to its workers. Though the HOER are promulgated by the Ministry of Labour, changes were made by the Railway Board without the concurrence of Ministry of Labour and they exploit the Staff. Allowing unfettered power to the management to make rule in regard to Hours of Employment will give amble room to exploit the worker and drive them to the status of slaves. Therefore the Authority to make rule were entrusted with the Ministry of Labour. This cardinal rule has been neglected and the Railway Board plays havoc in the life of innocent workers and Ministry of Labour were made mere spectator. In-addition, the Railway has gone in a vast technological change for which the concentration of mind of a Loco Running Staff has been increased many fold. This present HOER is framed some 50 Yrs back when the average speed of a Goods Train is 30/35 KMPH, load of train (Goods) was 1800T, average speed of a coaching train was 40/45 KMPH, load was for 12/14 bogies but now the average speed of goods train is 50/55 KMPH, for M/Exp goes up to 75KMPH, load of goods trains, goes up to 5000T and for coaching to 24/26 Bogies. In one spell of duty about 400 to 425 Signal posts have to be confronted. A Signal post is to be passed now each after 2/3 minutes not like past days when a Signal Post was to be confronted each and after 10/12 Minutes.

Taking all these into consideration and the sufferings of the workers the Union placed the demand to review the Hours of Employment Regulations of Railways employees by a judicial review committee. The matter came before the National Council of JCM and the JCM came to an agreement on the matter on 14-02-2006 that the Hours of Employment Regulations for the Railway will be reviewed by a Judicial Committee, but nothing is done so far. On this matter too, the Railway Management did not spell out specifically in RLC (C) conciliation and dragged the issues.

Years were passed, the delay to implement the JCM agreement, gave enough time to Railway Board to manipulate. Now the Railway Board proposed for an in-house committee as reflected from their reply in RLC (C) conciliation that is too, in very unspecific terms, which is nothing but a deviation form their own commitment.

Sir, this is not fair, that Hours of Employment is a matter to be decided by the management whether they are private or state whatever forum they constitute.

Besides, we wish to point out that on 14-08-1973 then Minister of Labour after arriving an agreement with agitating Loco Running Staff assured in the floor of parliament that “the Loco Running Staff need not work more than 10 hours from signing on to signing off at stretch”. This is an assurance from the Government of India that should be honored and implemented. Accordingly orders were issued by the Ministry of Railways on 31-08-1978 restricting the duty hours to 10 hours from signing on to signing off for Loco Running Staff. But in 1992 the Railway Board, disregarding the assurance given by the Parliament, ordered and imposed the duty hours to 13 hours for Loco Running Staff misrepresenting a Ernakulam CAT’s order on the issue thus results mockery of Parliamentary democracy. It is therefore demanded to review the HOER by a judiciary Review Committee to have a safe, operation in the Railway.

5. By the nature of duty the Loco Running Staff normally be out of their headquarters on most of the days in a month. The Railway Board assumed the absence from head quarters in a month is for 20 days.

Any Government servant absenting from headquarters in course of employment is entitled to get TA on daily basis i.e. Fixed at the rate of rs.340 per day for those who are in Grade Pay Rs.4200.Thus the Loco Running Staff whose Grade Pay is Rs.4200 are entitled for 20 days TA at the same rate of Rs.340 per day.

But the Loco Running Staff were not paid TA as given to the other staff.
but it is paid through a scheme of Running Allowance.

The Gist of Running Allowance scheme is that “30% of the Basic Pay+20 days TA were divided by National average KM that have to be earned by the Loco Running Staff ie.5100KM and thus decided the rate for 100 KM.

The formula adopted for the past three decades is as follows:
The sum of the 30% of the mean of the basic pay+20 days TA is divided by 5100 KM (National average KM) and multiplied by 100.

From 01/09/2008, when the rate of TA is revised for all the staff, the running allowance rate was also revised. While doing so, with the same formula, the Railway Board made certain unwarranted modifications which caused a serious anomaly.

Instead of taking the TA rate at Rs.340/- for those whose Grade Pay is Rs.4200/- , they took the TA rate of Rs.210/- to calculate the rate of running allowance, discriminating from other Central Government employee, this was done before the announcement made by the Government on TA revision. The Railway assumed that the TA rate of Rs.105 in Sixth CPC will be raised to double; they took the TA rate as Rs.210 to decide the rate of Running Allowance. Subsequently the Government announced the TA rate as Rs.340, in different to the assumption of Railway Board. Under these circumstances we demand to calculate the Running Allowance under the formula with TA rates as Rs.340 instead of Rs.210 for Loco Pilots and with Rs.210 instead of Rs.110 for ALP as assumed by the Railway Board. Removing the discrimination, the Running Allowance rate be modified from 01-01-2006 when pay structure is effected to allow 30% pay element as done after V CPC.

Added to that while calculating the rate of Running Allowance, instead of taking the mean of the basic pay the Railway Board took the minimum of the Basic pay. Thus they denied the 30% of basic pay as pay for those who are in the higher basic pay in the new pay structure. The President declared that 30% basic pay is treated as pay element in the running allowance for loco running staff. Thus taking the minimum of basic pay is in violation of President of India’s order which is statutory in nature. Sir, to what extent it is justified not to allow Rs 340/- the rate TA to the employee whose GP is Rs. 4200/- and Rs. 210/- to them whose GP is below Rs. 4200/- why this discrimination to Loco Running Staff who are giving blood to maintain the train services in the Railway. The Railway management here also failed to give any reason for not conceding the demand but dragging caused for a serious resentment. The Railway Board here in this matter has taken a very peculiar stand that to review the rate of Running Allowance the question of Pay element is also to be reviewed which is nothing but attempt to divert the issues. The pay element and the TA rate is two different things has already got the approval of President of India. It is worth while to mention here that the Pay element was up-to 75% earlier that was subsequently reduced to 45% and then to 30% and so we are already subjected to a reduction. To review the pay element, the job has to be reviewed which has never be done so far, and then pay has to be fixed accordingly. Sir, this argument of Railway Management has no sound reason but an attempt to divert the issues.

Therefore we demand to calculate the rate of running allowance based on the formula that the 30% of MEAN of the basic pay+20 days TA at the rate of Rs.340/- divided by national average KM of 5100 KM.

All these demands were placed in the conciliation and the conciliation was failed due to the adamant attitude of the Railway Board. We request your goodself to refer the matter for adjudication before the National Tribunal.

Added to the above demand, we plead to implement the Industrial Tribunal/ Central Labour Court of Chennai award in ID case no. 1/2008 delivered on 31st July 2009 and also published in the Govt Gazette of Aug/Sept 2009, in which the payment of enhanced rate of DA allowing 30% pay element to the Dearness Pay is awarded to the Running staff of Indian Railways.

To draw the attention of Ministry of Labour, Railway and finances as well as PMO, to express our resentment, anguish and demand to refer it to adjudication, the Central Working Committee meeting of our Association held on 12/10/2010 called upon its workers
1) To submit an individual appeal to your office in the third week of November,

2) To hold demonstration before various Regional Labour Commissioner’s offices in the country on 1st December 2010 and submit a memorandum addressed to Hon’ble Minister of Labour.

3) a delegation of AILRSA will meet the Labour Minister at his pleasure on 1st December 2010 and explain the grievances for redressal. I therefore request your honour to grant an opportunity to meet your honour in a delegation at your conveyance for personal hearing. I shall be highly obliged if an intimation in this regard is given to me.

4) if no redressal is forth coming, to hold a massive Rally and sit in Dharna before the Ministry of Labour at New Delhi in the month of February 2011 during the Budget session of the Parliament.

We reasonably expect from your Hon’ble office that our grievances will be settled amicably.

Yours faithfully,

Secretary General,
Copy to: - AILRSA
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
Hon’ble Minister for Railways
Hon’ble Minister for Finance
Hon’ble Chief Labour Commissioner


G.N.SHAW said...

CW C decision is all was better,if copy was sent to human right commission also,about our long pending HOER.

Devarajan said...

Our stand is clearly explained in this letter.If the Government of India wants to uphold its citizen's right and Parlimentary Democracy it will consider our demands.Otherwise, if our Parlimentarians are for rich and beauracrats, the will push us for direct action.

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