Mumbai: Striking motormen seek written assurance from authorities
As the motormen went on a strike, refusing to do overtime, 120 train services on the Main line and 80 on the Harbour and trans-harbour lines were cancelled
Due to Central Railway administration's failure in resolving the issue of motormen working extra hours to make up for the huge number of vacancies in the department, more than 40 lakh commuters suffered on Friday.
As the motormen went on a strike, refusing to do overtime, 120 train services on the Main line and 80 on the Harbour and trans-harbour lines were cancelled. Crowds took to the tracks as trains lined up from Mumbai CST to Sandhurst Road station. While Divisional Railway Manager S K Jain said they had successful talks with the trade union members, Chief Public Relations Officer Sunil Udasi also confirmed that the matter had been amicably resolved. Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS) president Rajendra Bhatnagar also said the chief operations manager and senior railway officials had assured to look into the matter and that it had been resolved.
However, the motormen have decided not to call off the strike, as they are yet to get any assurance in writing from the authorities.
According to sources, about 558 motormen affiliated to the CRMS had on Wednesday handed over a letter to railway authorities saying that they would not do overtime from August 10, as vacancies were not being filled up. They were also being punished through compulsory retirement for bringing up the issue. Members of CRMS said that as there are 229 vacancies on the Central Railway segment, motormen were being forced to work for extra hours leading to a lot of stress. However, railway officials are of the opinion that recruiting new people was a continuous process and that 50 drivers have already been selected for the entrance test. Apart from this, another 100 motormen would join by year-end.
Subhash Gupta, former member of National Railway Users' Consultative Committee said, "Due to the ego battle between senior railway officials and trade union leaders, the common people suffered on Friday."
When contacted, Dr. Rajendra P Bhatnagar, CRMS president, said, "We have been assured that the vacancies will be filled up on priority. The authorities also said that the punishments being imposed on the motormen would also be reviewed."
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