Friday, November 8, 2013

Dear Loco Running Men,
Our struggle against antediluvian Hours of work (HOER) continues from the birth of this organisation. AILRSA continued agitations to review the HOER. The relentless struggle and AILRSA’s decision to join the strike organised by the Central Government Employees organisation influenced them and added ‘Review of HOER’ as a demand of JCM during 2006.
During negotiations government accepted to a judicial review of HOER by High Court Judge. Again the indifferent attitude of Railways continued and they delayed to implement the decision. Finally in the year 2011, on compulsion, Railways appointed High Power Committee( HPC) comprising of bureaucrats with an escapism that they consulted with recognised federations. AILRSA expressed apprehensions about dilution of Judicial Committee into a bureaucratic committee, but sincerely represented to avail the opportunity to address the grievances of Loco Running Staff.
AILRSA continued struggles simultaneously for HOER and pay & allowances demands. When our nation wide agitations were in peak, Ministry of Labour intervened and Regional Labour Commissioner, New Delhi conciliated    between AILRSA and Railways but it failed. Then considering the justification of our demands, national importance and seething resentment of staff expressed by our continuous agitations, Ministry of Labour ordered for adjudication by National Industrial Tribunal(NIT) for the first time after independence. This has created tremendous pressure on Railway administration and in these circumstances High Power Committee has given its recommendations.
Though various committees headed by renowned judicial members like Justice.G.S. Rajadhyaksha, Justice. N.M. Miabhoy, Justice. H.R. Khanna, Parliamentary Standing committee (Headed by Com. Basudeb Acharia recommended to implement 8 hours of duty in 2004) and various trade unions asked to reduce the duty hours of running staff for the sake of safety in Railways and wellbeing of the workers, the HPC has not recommended to reduce the total working hours below 10 hours. At the same time, no where in the world the duty hours of train crew is more than 9 hrs. As clearly indicated in the annexure attached to the report, except in few railways it was prescribed at 12 hrs where two equally competent drivers are provided. Further, internationally there was no such concept of Running Duty or otherwise.
 The reasons advanced by all the unions including AIRF /NFIR, the necessity to reduce the stay away from Head Quarters was elaborate and all the points raised by the workers are recognised by the committee but finally danced to the tune of their master and recommended 72 hours against the present practice of 36 hours as per Railway Board order.
In front of HPC, AILRSA demanded “INTENSIVE” classification for Loco pilots, which is presently available classification in HOER for many other categories in Railways and AILRSA quoted the decision of RLC, Chennai on Industrial Dispute(ID) raised by AILRSA/MDU. AIRF demanded a new classification “SUPER INTENSIVE” and to reduce the working hours to 5 hours. NFIR also demanded a new classification “SPECIAL INTENSIVE”.  But HPC denied the demands of all the unions and recommended to continue the existing classification of “CONTINUOUS”.
Now AILRSA is fighting for Intensive case in High Court, Chennai on the writ petition filed by Railways. Further AILRSA’s claim before the adjudication of NIT, Mumbai also continue. AILRSA is launching Signature Campaign, Divisional Demonstration, and Zonal programme like trade union activities.
The Federations are still to express their views on HPC. Even after their demands are out rightly rejected by HPC, do they hesitate to oppose it? Loco Running Staff believes they too will respond to fight for better HOER and it is the right time to organise the struggle for it. A stitch in time saves nine.
Even without a demand from any section of the workers/trade unions, Railway Board has formed an empowered committee to device a new formula for the rate of running allowance and their ill motive is known to all.  This is a usual practice of the Railways which often tries to manipulate the parameters of the formula of rate of running allowance or the formula itself.  AILRSA has demanded to scrap this committee and the present stand of Federations AIRF/NFIR after the reply from Railways on empowered committee dated 02.07.2013 are yet to be known.  AILRSA has raised the objections in the NIT to do away with the Empowered committee.  Even then they are going ahead with it to succeed their ill motive, when issue of Running allowance is subjudice and is under consideration of NIT for adjudication. It is nothing but a gross dis-regard to the democratic process as well as Hon’ble NIT.  As such, AILRSA demands to cancel the empowered committee on running allowance.
The RBE 41/2013 is a serious blow to the status, grade and pay of Running staff. Through this circular, a serious injustice is done against the running staff by lowering the status and grade of running staff while being posted in stationary post after being medically decategorised by not upgrading the GP., it gives the weightage of pay element to protect the pay only but not to Grade Pay. This reduction in rank is against the protection envisaged in The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995.
 On MACP issue the clarification of Rly Board through RBE no. 142/2012 is against the spirit of its own circular under RBE no. 101/2009 and also in contrary to the order of Hon’ble CAT/Ernakulam in  O.A. no. 561/11 of dt 11.04.2012 which justified GP Rs.4600/- even Rs.4800/- to Loco Pilots under MACP scheme although it is not a promotional GP when they fulfil the condition of MACP scheme. Now with the above mentioned RBE142/2012's clarification, the employees concerned will be deprived with the benefit of upgraded GP and thus injustice is done. Therefore the said RBE 142/2012 needs to be withdrawn.
 The large number of accidents in the last three years forced the Railways to release the minutes on SPAD which is mostly a replica of various AILRSA memorandums submitted in the past.   But unfortunately Railways never bothered to earmark any funds for implementation.  Surprisingly, the GMs of all zones disowned the SPAD minutes released by their bosses at the Railway Board.   Member (Mechanical), who was at the forefront of the SPAD meeting, is the present CRB, let us wait and see whether efforts are taken to implement his very own suggestions.CRB shall prevail upon GMs to implement the above minutes on duty hours and rests.
Railway board had issued RBE 95/2013 dated 12-09-13 for allowing promotional increment at the time of promotion in same grade pay. But while listing the situations of promotions, two promotions pertaining to running cadre are omitted. Sr. Assistant Loco Pilot to Loco Pilot (Shunting) Grade II and Loco Pilot (Shunting) Grade I to Loco Pilot (Goods). So we demand to revise the order under reference to include the above two situations among other.


Following demands are represented in Signature Campaign:
1) Modify and implement the recommendation of HPC on Duty Hours
2) Cancel the empowered committee on running allowance
3) Withdraw RBE no. 142/2012 which denies the benefit on MACPS to Loco Pilots
4) Fix Grade pay adding 30% pay element for medically decategorised Running Staff
5) Implement RLC, Chennai order and Reclassify loco pilots as ' Intensive '
6) Implement Minutes of Rly. Board's meeting on SPAD 
7) Grant periodical rest as per The Railways Act Sec.133 
8) Grant Promotional increment during promotion from Sr.ALP and Sr LP(S) to higher posts

WORKING CLASS UNITY ZINDABAD                                                           AILRSA ZINDABAD
Place: Bangalore
Date: 11.11.2013


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