Friday, July 6, 2012


Dear Locomen,
       Every loco running staff of Indian railway knows that ever since the VIth CPC released its retrograde recommendation for loco running staff, AILRSA had been on war path with various modes of struggles all over Indian Railway. In the course of struggle we got a partial achievement of 80% upgradation from 1900 to 2400 Grade Pay for ALP and we were not satisfied and continued the struggle. On the other hand the AIRF and NFIR who boycotted the Fast Track Committees of Vth and VIth CPC claimed that it was a historical achievement by pasting victory posters. Both these recognized federations proved themselves that they are not hard bargainers but empty boasters who simply claim credit for small improvements delivered by finance ministry, DOPT and Railway Board and also disowns their own demands of 2800 Grade Pay for ALP.

       In the issue of running allowance according to the RAC 1980 formula, both the recognized federations surrendered to the railway decision of doubling existing rates and justified on lines with the railway board that they protected 30% pay element. When the DA crossed 50% according to VIth CPC recommendations TA had to be raised by 25% and various 37 allowances were raised from 01.01.2011 except running allowance. The AIRF proposed that 70% of the present rate is TA portion and so 25% has to be derived ignoring the fact that the present running allowance rates were not based on present TA rates! The NFIR proposed that the present running allowance rate was not derived correctly according to RAC 1980 formula and current TA rate even though they were party to it and finally said that 25% increase shall be made on the present false rates of running allowance. After 18 months railway board is proceeding with NFIR suggestion but AILRSA is insisting on RAC 1980 formula with current rate of TA and waiting for National Industrial Tribunal decision.
       From time immemorial AIRF/NFIR are propagating among railway employees that even a crow will not fly above the railway board office without their knowledge, to fool the poor workers and keep depending on them. After the secret ballot for trade union recognition, we saw NFIR biting the dust in some zones and AIRF successful except in one zone. The AIRF/NFIR could win in many zones only due to the absence of a third contestant which railway management never allowed to exist in yester years.
       In January 2012 National Industrial Tribunal (NIT) was constituted by labour ministry with a retired High Court Judge Sri.Gowri Shankar Sharaff at Mumbai with terms of reference of grade pay, running allowance, onerous duty allowance and revision of HOER. The formation of NIT is an approval for our agitations on genuine demands raised by us. The Central government may set up a NIT for adjudication in Industrial disputes which involves national importance. The judgment of the tribunal is binding on the railways which shows its importance to AILRSA where so many recommendations are not implemented by railways.
       When all the loco running staff of Indian railways are eagerly waiting for the judgment of NIT, on 23.03.2012, Sri Umraomal Purohit ,President of AIRF in board PNM stated that “The case of NIT has to be seriously taken up by board at appropriate level as there are implications in that. Number one implication is that pay commission was headed by a Supreme Court judge and given a decision which government has accepted and implemented. Now we are negotiating is a different question. The labour ministry appointed a National Commission and appointing a High court judge has to look into that, is it right?  Number two, scales of pay/grade pay which the commission recommended, the government of India has accepted and railway board has implemented. Does the labour ministry not known that is a Cabinet decision to which labour ministry is also a party in the Cabinet where the decision has been taken? And if that decision has to be challenged a High  Court Judge has to be appointed?”.  Sri. Purohit stated that the matter to be seriously discussed with labour/railway ministers, how this happened. Has any time in history of Indian railways this has been done in past. This should be done by bilateral agreement.
       Since AIRF is running a trading union and working as B team of railway board they are not aware of the provisions of Industrial dispute act and are stunned at achievement of AILRSA. The ID act 1947,7B(3) says a person shall not be qualified for appointment as the presiding officer of National Tribunal unless he is, or has been a judge of High Court. There is no hard and fast rule that only Supreme Court Judge should become Pay Commission Chairman and if government wants, a High Court judge also can be appointed. When Sri. Purohit believes that a decision taken by Supreme Court judge cannot be amended by High Court Judge, but he feels that he can amend it by negotiation, which is ridiculous. If the Pay Commission headed by Supreme Court Judge is so reliable for AIRF, then how many categories got improvement in grade pay later? AILRSA opines that all pay commissions were only DA merging commission without conducting any job analysis.
       Just like the railway board ignored labour ministry representatives in the railway bureaucratic high power committee on HOER with the consent of AIRF/NFIR, and now when labour ministry appointed an NIT, naturally AIRF will have an allergy towards labour ministry as their role is nil in NIT. Railway board claims that they are competent authority in all matters especially in regard to hours of work and period of rest in terms of chapter XIV of Railway ACT 1989 with the concurrence of AIRF/NFIR and thereby both federations allowed railways to be law unto themselves and this is now destabilized by AILRSA.
       The AIRF/NFIR in second Departmental Anomaly Committee meeting concluded that the revision of grade pay for ALP is a closed chapter and proposed only 4600 Grade Pay for Loco Pilot (Mail). Now when the NIT is formed AIRF is naturally feeling the heat of implications on them when a most deserving cadre of railway is likely to get some improvement in pay and working conditions above their head. AIRF/NFIR which is in habit of claiming credit for all good things happening in railways by effort of categorical unions, cannot claim credit for improvements likely to come from NIT. Even the loco running staff attached with AIRF/NIFR are sure to suspect the credibility of their own union and are likely to distance away. All these issues giving sleepless nights to AIRF leaders and they are dreaming to scrap NIT by hook or by crook. Even railway may be dreaming so which is evident from their absence to appear at NIT for consecutive 4 sittings.  In the forth sitting held on 02.07.12, Railway did not attend.  Submission of evidence from AILRSA is completed and next sitting posted to 06.08.2012 for submission of evidence by management. We expect the Railway will attend on that day.
      Similarly the minutes of the meeting regarding SPAD held on 12.06.2012 at railway boa rd are mostly the replica of demands raised by AILRSA in the yester years all over Indian Railways. The direction of LEO/MDU and RLC/MAS on intensive classification has found a place. Both AIRF/NFIR cannot claim credit for the minutes of SPAD as they have not put such demands in yester years but surprisingly they may claim credit even though they are luckily not party in the meeting of CMEs and Loco Inspectors at railway board. So dear Locomen the sustained struggle of AILRSA for last 45 years are started yielding results and so we request all of you to rally behind AILRSA in its agitation programs in coming days to get the minutes of SPAD and decisions of NIT implemented in near future so that we can work with dignity and pride.



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