New Delhi: In the wake of railway workers threatening a strike and total ‘chakka jam’ from July 11 onwards, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has written to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about the perceived problem and burden on Railways following the implementation of the just announced 7th Pay Commission recommendations.
Railway Ministry sources said that Prabhu has conveyed in his letter to Jaitley that the implementation of 7th Pay commission recommendations will lead to an additional burden of Rs.31,000 crore.
“Seventh Pay Commission has been accepted recently and there are lots of queries as to how Railways is going to fund. Our internal calculation is that the burden on railways will be around Rs.31,000 crore, which is the requirement was a little more than the commission’s estimate of Rs.28,000 crore,” Prabhu is believed to have apprised the Finance Minister.
Prabhu has said that around Rs.12,000 crore will be on account of wages, Rs.8,000 crore on account of pensions and the balance on account of various allowances which may lead to deterioration in Railways’ operating ratio.
“Last year, we ended with around 90 per cent. This will deteriorate to 92 per cent. Railways will try to see whether it is able to raise the resources on our own. We have approached the Ministry of Finance. If necessary, we will approach them for some assistance,” said a railway official.
On the impending strike call by railways unions, railway officials said the railway authorities held a meeting with representatives of employees’ unions over issues related to the pay hike and hoped that there would be no disruption of services.
Railway and other central government employees have decided to go on strike from July 11 against the pay commission recommendations approved by the government on Wednesday.
Asked whether the prospect of a strike by railway workers was worrying them, the official said that there are two recognised unions and their leadership is quite mature. “We are talking to them, we have had a few rounds of discussions already with them and we hope to find a solution. At this moment, I can only say that,” he said.
Railways’ passenger, freight services may be severely disrupted from July 11
If you are planning to travel by train on or after July 11, then keep a plan B ready.
Indian Railways’ trade unions have called for a nationwide indefinite strike by workers from July 11, for protesting new pension scheme and minimum wages announced by Cabinet on June 29.
Indian Railways is one of the largest employers with around 10 lakh 40,000 employees, and moves around 2.3 crore passengers and 1100 mt of freight everyday.
Any strike, depending on the magnitude of it, is going to cause passengers inconvenience and lead to spurt in prices of essential commodities.
The members of All India Railwaymen’s Federation and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen met Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu on 29th June 2016 and conveyed serious disappointment as well unhappiness among railway employees on the government’s decisions relating to minimum wage, multiplier factor, abolition of National Pension System in Railways.
The unions are expected to meet again on July 6 to take stock of the situation.
Ministers talk to Trade Unions to avert Railway strike
Hectic efforts are on to avert proposed railway strike from July 11. Senior ministers met railway trade unions to make them agree to withdraw their call for strike from July 11. However, no agreement could be reached on the issue of minimum salary and the mechanism of calculating the salary in the 7th Pay Commission.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assured trade union leaders to consider their demand of increase in the minimum wage and calculations of salary announced in the 7th pay panel.
Trade union leaders have demanded a written assurance which the government is yet to come out with.
The government had called a meeting of trade union leaders on Thursday night at the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The finance minister along with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and MoS for Railways Manoj Sinha attended the meeting.
All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) Shiv Gopal Mishra told DH on Friday, “If the government agrees to our major demands, we may reconsider our call for strike from July 11. The final call will be taken on July 6 in a meeting of National Joint Action Committee of central government employees.”
He said the government has assured us that it would send our demands to the high-power committees which have been formed to look into minimum wage, allowances and calculation of salary.
Mishra said the government’s claim on enhancement of the minimum wage is false and misleading. The government has said that the wage has increased to Rs 18,000 per month from Rs 7,000.
“A new recruit currently gets approximately Rs 16,000 a month, including the Dearness Allowance. The government has increased Rs 2,000 in 10 years since the last pay commission was implemented,” he said.
WR demands written support from Staff
Against the wake of an impending nationwide strike call by nearly 33 lakh government employees to protest the 7th pay commission, the Western Railway has come up with a list of directives for its employees to ensure smooth functioning of trains.
Among the set of instructions is an order for staffers to fill in a form to show their unwillingness to join the agitation, which is likely to start from July 11. The WR administration took the decision after the WR Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) and Western Railway Employees Union sent out a communication asking employees to join the strike.
According to the note signed by N M Agrawal, WR employees will not be allowed to take leave prior to the strike or during it. The notice has further has asked all the employees who are on leave to resume office from June 5. The strike, if comes into effect, will affect all the departments of the railways and will hamper train services in a big way.
Ajay Singh, divisional secretary of WRMS, said the hike suggested by the 7th pay commission is meagre. “It has only accounted for three people in the family. According to the recommendations of the 7th pay commission, we will get a hike of 2.57 per cent as against our demand of 3.67 per cent. We will not budge an inch, and stop the railway functioning unless out demands are met.”
Singh is also the zonal head of National Federation of Indian Railwaymen. WRMS has about 84,700 employees working in WR are affiliated to it.
The employees who would want to go on leave citing medical reasons will be allowed to abstain from work only after they produce a medical certificate of a doctor of the railways, says the note from Agrawal.
A senior railway official explained that there is still some time for the strike and that talks are being held between the government and trade unions.
Within railways, the strike call has been given by the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen and All India Railwaymens Federation. About 33 lakh government employees have threatened to go on strike.