The loco pilots of Indian Railways have called for an all-India strike under the banner of All India Loco Running Staff Association. Loco pilots from all over India will be “fasting while on Duty as well as off Duty”, for two days from August 17. The loco pilots are protesting against the delay in revising the post 7th Pay Commission rates of the running allowances, which are due from January 1, 2016.
According to the press release by All India Loco Running staff Association: “The Railway Loco Pilots and Guards were paid an allowance called Running allowance. This allowance consists of a portion of their pay to an extent of 30% and the TA as entitled. It is paid Proportionate to the kilometres of distance they run the trains, at the prescribed rates, as per the RAC 1980 formula”.
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It further said that whenever the TA (Travelling Allowance) is revised, the running allowance is also revised and this has been the tradition since past 38 years. The unions says that the revision in allowances is done on the bases of the formula derived in 1980. The press statement states that the revision for TA was done on January 1, 2016 and it was fixed at Rs 800 for loco pilots. After the 7th Central pay Commission report, all the other allowances were revised, but running allowances were not revised.
The loco pilots have alleged that the railways management is intentionally delaying the revision of the running allowances. They claim that the management is not revising the amount even after repeated protests by the employees. This is the main reason why the loco pilots all over the country have said that they will be fasting on duty and off duty for two days from August 17. But, the Railway services won’t be affected by the protest as all of them would come to work. Apart from the issue of the implementation of the revised TA and the running allowances, the issue of ‘one rank one pension ‘ will also be taken up by the protesters.
The protestors demand “Parity in pension to pre 2016 running staff pensioners/family pensioners at par with the post 01-01- 2016 running staff pensioners/ family pensioners, as per the policy decision of the government of India”. The protesters are saying that the government’s decision to give the same amount of pension to pensioners who retired before or after January 1, 2016, should be applied to the railway employees too.
It should be remembered that after the long struggle by the defence employees for the demand of ‘one rank one pension’, the government finally decided that after 7th Central Pay Commission report, there would be parity in amount of pension of the employees irrespective of the year that they retired in. This meant that all the government employees who get pension, who retired before January 1, 2016 will get the same amount of pension as the ones who retired later. But, the railway employees claim, “Railway board issued an order dated 24-01-2018, against the government’s decision, with contradictory and discriminatory instructions with a deliberate intention of depriving the running staff pensioners/family of the pensioners of the benefit of the parity in pension sanctioned by the government’s policy decision.”
Following are the key demands put forward by the loco pilots ahead of the protest:
Revision of Running Allowance as per RAC 1980 formula.
Rectification of the anomalous order (RBE 13/2018) on revision of pension and ensure parity in pension between pre and post 2016 retired running staff pensioners/family pensioners.