Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bangalore, May 8, 2012
‘Loco staff are overworked'
Staff Reporter

Train pilots, assistant pilots and shunting pilots or ‘loco running staff' – the key drivers of the Indian Railways – are overworked, often asked to forego their weekly holidays and made to put in more hours at work that most other public sector employees, according to the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA).
Many of the over 60,000 loco running staff work close to 13 hours everyday despite their demands to reduce their duty hours, said C. Sunish, general secretary, AILRSA. This compromises their safety, he added.

Not ergonomic
It is inhumane to expect pilots to remain on high alert for 13 hours while on duty, when he has to watch out for signals, trespassers, level-crossings and communicate with the guard and station master, he told presspersons on Monday. Moreover, these staff members work with high decibel levels and in a badly designed cab that is five degrees hotter than the ambient air temperature.
Among the reasons for this is the acute shortage of staff, Mr. Sunish said. There is a shortfall of 15,000 engine drivers in the country where 55,000 engine drivers are currently employed. In Karnataka, the shortfall is of 500 people.
AILRSA demand includes confining duty hours of mail, express, passenger and motorman crews to six hours. The association's biennial general body meeting on May 16 and 17 at Jnana Jyothi auditorium will discuss these issues and will be followed by a protest rally.


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