Thursday, April 28, 2016

Regd No. 17903                                                                                                 HQ Adra
                    South Western Railway Zone, Hubbali
Dear Comrade,
Nearly 10,000 garment workers came out to the streets on Monday, 18 April 2016 at Bommanahalli and Maddur to protest against the amendment to the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
While the Hosur Road was blocked by garment workers of five factories, including Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd., K. Mohan and Co Exports Pvt. Ltd. and Jockey, in Bommnaahalli, workers of Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd. in Jajjalagere Industrial Area, Maddur taluk, blocked the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway. Traffic movement at Electronics City and surrounding areas was severely affected for over three hours. On the busy Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway, protestors blocked the road leading to Mysuru.
According to Jayaram K.R. from the Garment and Textile Workers’ Union, the protest was against the union government’s amendment of the Act. As per the new amendment, people will be able to withdraw only their (employee’s) contribution to their provident fund accounts. They will be able to withdraw the employer’s contribution only after they are 58-years-old.
The Central Government on Tuesday, 19.04.2016 announced a complete and unconditional rollback of new norms that barred employees from withdrawing their provident fund corpus before retirement, over a month after it scrapped the Union budget proposal to tax employees provident fund savings at retirement.
Union Labour and Employment Minister Sri. Bandaru Dattatreya, who on Monday said the new rules would be partially relaxed and their implementation deferred, announced the climb-down on Tuesday evening, minutes after his Ministry reiterated Monday’s decision in a statement.
Finance Minister Sri Arun Jaitley on 29.02.2016 proposed to tax 60 % of EPF withdrawals. Finance minister’s offer was to give tax exemption for up to 40 %b of corpus withdrawal of NPS (National Pension Scheme) and to Tax 60 % of EPF corpus withdrawal, which till now was tax free. The NPS is now taxed fully at the withdrawal time. While EPF investment is “exempted” from all stages (EEE), NPS is EET (exempted, Exempted and Taxed) ie full taxation at withdrawal time. Due to huge protest from Trade unions Finance minister announced with drawl of the above proposal on 8th March2016.
On the other hand Finance minister announced an allocation of Rs.2500 Crore for the “recapitalization” of banks in his budget. What is the real content of this “recapitalization”? Public funds are being put in to hands of Public Sector Banks to make up for losses incurred in writing off loans to companies owned by private share holders.
Liquor Baron Sri. Vijay Mallya owes around Rs 9,000 crore to SBI and a consortium of 17 Indian banks and the Kingfisher House was acquired by SBI a year ago in a bid to recover its dues from the defaulter Mallya, who is currently abroad.
CCM Southern Railway, taken bold decisions to implement periodical transfer of ticket-checking staff, to limit EQ quota for SRMU to minimum. Angered SRMU barged to CCM office.
Sr DME /SBC had found that two office bearers of SWRMU in carriage and wagon depot Bengaluru signing in their muster roll and wandering here and there without doing their assigned work since long time, were called to his office and warned them to do their work or face Disciplinary action. Due to this the top leaders of SWRMU /SBC barged in to Sr DME chamber and threatened him of dare consequences but Sr DME did not succumb to these pressures. So the leaders of SWRMU lodged a false complaint with DRM/SBC and GM/SWR that Sr DME used un-parliamentary words against them and demanded his ouster and intern he was transferred to EMD Shed, Hubli which is a den of SWRMU cadre which has a past history of assaulting other trade union leaders and even officers. AILRSA Bengaluru conducted a protest meeting, AISMA , AIGC also participated.
All over Indian Railways the leaders of AIRF and its subsidiaries are in news for wrong reasons such as corruption, black marketing of EQ tickets, benami contracts of two wheeler and four wheeler parking, Maintenance of Running room, Box boy contracts, scams in co operative societies, interfering in TTE and Goods Guard selections in connivance with officers for bidding highest amount, recommending inter depot, inter division, inter zone transfers for large amounts etc
Very few officers standing against these injustices due to their quality attained through hereditary and such officers should be protected.
On 08.02.2016, 130 years old dilapidated two story building which was housing the parcel office collapsed and 6 persons died. Even though crack was developed a few days before nobody cared for shifting the parcel office. Police arrested the ADEN Hubli on 18.02.2016 in connection with this. The SWRMU agitated in connivance with some officers and delayed 6 trains at Hubli and at Bengaluru they pushed on duty SM’s from E Cabin and locked cabin from outside, which causes delay for many trains
At Londa station distant attention and home was Danger. Com. Rajesh Kumar, LPG unable to control and passed home. Similar cases were reported previously by many LP’s but not rectified. SF 5 was served for Rajesh, entire running Staff of Hubli were agitated. Around 200 persons reported sick. From night 22hrs to next day 14 hrs no goods train run. AILRSA All India Vice President KAS Mani contacted GM through phone.Com C. Sunish and Com. K Rameshan was monitoring the issue. Com KT Achari, Com Dhananjay Kumar and Com CK Joshil were negotiating. Finally on assurance by CME agitation was withdrawn.
Internationally 1st May is celebrated as INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY.
Rail workers have played a crucial and leading role in the history of the Indian Trade Union movement.   The struggles conducted by rail workers had begun in the 19th century itself. The first war of Indian Independence, as is well known, had begun in 1857.  Within a couple of years, there have been struggles by railway workers, in different places.  Those struggles were all local involving a few workers.
             One of the important struggles, a really historic one, was the struggle of railway workers in Howrah, in Bengal, involving about 1200 workers.  It is historic in two ways. One the demand - The demand of the strike was for 8 hours of work a day. Two, it happened during April-May 1862.
       The historic importance of this struggle is that even before forming a proper trade union, a strike demanding 8 hours of work had been conducted. This had happened in Indian Railway, 24 years ahead of the struggle of Chicago workers for 8 hours of work!
Loco Running Staff were waging for limiting the working hours from 1960 onwards.  The historic strike of loco men in Aug 1973 was a land mark. An agreement was signed between the Government of India and AILRSA on 14.08.1973; limiting the working hours to 10 hours.
            The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways headed by Com. Basudeb Acharia submitted their report on 22.12.2004, recommending limitation of duty hours of Loco Running Staff to 8 hours. 
            The SPAD meeting minutes (14.06.2012) also recommended limiting working hours, continuous night duties, and improving the working conditions etc.
            AILRSA Madurai Division approached Regional Labour Commissioner challenging the Continuous classification.  After conducting a detailed Job Analysis of the engine crew, RLC/Chennai recommended for Intensive Classification.   But panic-struck GM/SR appealed to the Ministry of Labour and Joint Secretary Ministry of Labour which upheld the RLC decision.  The hell-bent Railways administration has now approached the Honorable High Court of Chennai.
            Though various committees headed by renowned judicial members like Justice. G.S. Rajadhyaksha(1946), Justice. N.M. Miabhoy(RLT-1969), Justice. H.R. Khanna(RSRC-1998),  and various trade unions recommended to reduce the duty hours of running staff for the sake of safety in Railways and the wellbeing of the workers.
            The relentless, untiring and valiant struggles launched by AILRSA have resulted in opening the eyes of the Government of India Realizing and recognizing the disputes raised by AILRSA, consisting of four major demands, which involve question of National importance and the need to address and resolve them has prompted the Government of India to constitute through the ministry of labour, a National Industrial Tribunal (NIT), under the Industrial disputes Act, 1947, on 27-01-2012. Arguments of the Case are still going on. Next hearing is posted on  5 & 6 May 2016.
 Alas !  the situation prevailing in Chicago during 1886 continues to exist in the Indian Railways even today in 2016.  It is for the working people to find a way out of the situation.  Eight hours work, 48 hours a week was the demand in 19th century and it still remains in our charter in the 21st century also.  The exploitation continues.  It’s high time we awoke from our slumber and continued our struggle. 
            The essence of reduction of working hours is ultimately reduction in the level of exploitation.  For an efficient and effective struggle it has to be linked to the struggle for change in the system itself, a system where exploitation of man by man ceases to exist.  
   Let us march together towards that, and let us struggle united.

AILRSA SWR organising May Day rallies in front of all Crew Booking Lobby’s by 10.30 hrs on 01.05.2016, jointly with NREU, AIGC & AISMA.


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