Monday, October 23, 2017

Railway workers had warned the government about network safety five months ago, reports The Economic Times.
ByMoneycontrol News

Moneycontrol News

As rail accidents continue to dominate the headlines, it has now emerged that railway workers had warned the government about network safety five months ago, flagging the issue of overworked employees owing to shortage of staff, reports Economic Times.

At the Joint Consultative Machinery (JCM) meeting on May 3, the ‘staff side’ said that the shortage of staff was forced by a recruitment 'ban' imposed by the Department of Expenditure.

The staff stated that the recruitment ban was taking place as a way to save money and that despite the safety concerns, no action was being taken.

“This is despite the Task Force, set up by the ministry of railways on safety-related matters, having suggested that additional staff be mobilised to ensure safety. Even the Hon'ble Prime Minister in his speeches has stressed the need for safety, but the ministry of railways has chosen to ignore,” the staff side pointed out.

The staff side argued that no recruits were hired when new services or trains are introduced, which results in employees having to put in extra hours.

The government has denied the recruitment ban, but accepted that “the recruitment processes are slow”, according to the minutes of the meeting.

The JCM meet is a dialogue exchange between staff and officials for resolving issues arising between the two parties - government and the employees.

The staff side representatives for the JCM are selected from the members of the recognised service associations and employee unions.

A series of railway accidents in recent months had prompted Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to offer his resignation in late August, following which Piyush Goyal was tasked with heading the ministry as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled his Cabinet in early September.Goyal's tenure got off to a rough start after 23 people died in a stampede on a foot overbridge at a Mumbai suburban station on September 29.


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