This festive season may just bring more woes than good wishes to commuters on Western Railway. According to sources, there is a possibility of a shutdown of services on the Western Railway, as employee unions and the administration have locked horns over the issue of festive bonuses.
Sources say that the management wishes to reduce the bonuses given to employees during festivals, a decision that is causing anger among unions.
“We are expected to get our bonuses during Navratri. If there is any reduction in the bonuses, then employees and workers could spontaneously shut everything, right from trains to workshops and car sheds,” said JR Bhosale, general secretary, Western Railway Employees’ Union (WREU).
It is to be noted that discussions and agitations over festive bonuses have going on across the country, but the Western Railway employee unions have been more aggressive, holding frequent meetings with the management.
Every year, lakhs of employees all over the country get bonuses during festivals, depending on revenue earned by the railways.
The total amount in bonuses for employees in the entire country is almost Rs 1,000 crore.
Although union members claim they haven’t participated in dharnas or affected work, if their demands are not met, the reduction is unacceptable.
Things are not looking good for people who travel on Western Railway with derailments causing snags and delays.
On October 1, one of the coaches of a long-distance train derailed between Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel around 4.45 am, while being shunted to a track where trains are parked.
Soon after the incident, local train services on the Churchgate-Virar stretch were affected. Slow trains going towards the northern suburbs (Borivli and Virar) were delayed. Because of this, movement of trains going towards Churchgate was also affected, said a WR official.
The authorities finally managed to re-rail the coach at 6.30 am. “At least 20 local train services were cancelled due to this derailment,” said Nitin David, WR spokesperson.
Officials claim that because of the 1,300-odd local trains moving on the tracks the entire day, they don’t get enough time to carry out maintenance on the empty lines. Hence, the derailment was caused.
Rs 1,000 cr
Amount in bonuses paid by the railways to lakhs of employees all over India