Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Loco pilots protest ‘oppression’

Anil Kumar Sastry

 
Members of All India Loco Running Staff Association of Southern Railway staging a protest in front of the Mangalore Central Railway Station in Mangaluru on Tuesday.— Photo: H.S. Manjunath
Members of All India Loco Running Staff Association of Southern Railway staging a protest in front of the Mangalore Central Railway Station in Mangaluru on Tuesday.— Photo: H.S. Manjunath
Loco pilots, under the banner of All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA), on Tuesday staged a hunger strike across Southern Railway’s Palakkad Division, including Mangaluru, protesting what they called “oppressive” measures being adopted by the administration, particularly the Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer at Palakkad.
Staff shortage
About 40 members of the association participated in the strike and were supported by members of Unions of other categories of workers. Dakshina Kannada District Secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions Vasanth Achari launched the strike.
One of the office-bearers of AILRSA Palakkad Division told The Hindu that more than 20 per cent of the sanctioned posts of loco pilots in the Division (89 out of 579) have been vacant for a long time.
Due to this staff shortage, the pilots were being denied their weekly offs and mandatory rests and were forced to work overtime, he said.
Harrassment alleged
Besides denial of basic rights, the Sr. DME was harassing the pilots and had issued 23 charge sheets against pilots in the last two months, the office bearer said.
The Palakkad Division has four crew booking depots — Palakkad, Kozhikode, Shoranur and Mangaluru — where the loco pilots resorted to demonstrations on Tuesday, he said.
Demands put forward
AILRSA has urged the authorities to fill the vacancies at the earliest and put an end to the oppressive measures, failing which it would be forced to intensify the agitation from next month.

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