New Delhi: For the first time since the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) started operations in 2002, train operators are threatening to go on strike.
They are seeking pay hike and better working conditions.Apart from hampering Metro services, the proposed agitation will also throw out of gear the lives of lakhs of commuters who travel on its network daily. On an average, over 26 lakh passengers take the Metro every day.
Agitating train operators can already be seen wearing black armbands and staging a sit-in in groups of 10-30 at platforms of Yamuna Bank, Dwarka, Jahangirpuri and Badarpur Metro stations, among others.
On Sunday, Deccan Herald saw over 20 Metro personnel picketing at one of the platforms of Yamuna Bank station.
“We are planning to go on strike if our demands are not met,” said one of the agitators.
Their demands include increased pay for non-executive personnel and better working conditions for train operators—restricting working time up to 5.5 hours or 2,000 km per day, whichever is lower.
“We have been in talks with the management for quite some time now. But it doesn’t seem to be working out,” added the agitator.
Sources said the DMRC had a round of meetings with the demonstrating staff, but it cut no ice with them. Though the DMRC agreed that it is one of the biggest agitations, it claimed train operations would remain unaffected.
DMRC optimistic“There have been issues earlier, too, but this time it has come out in the open. Yes, it is one of the biggest demonstrations the DMRC has seen so far. But it won’t affect the movement of trains,” said a DMRC spokesperson.
“The staff are protesting only after their shifts are over. We will try to solve these issues as soon as possible,” he added.
In all, there are over 8,000 non-executive personnel—ranging from train operators and station controllers to junior engineers and maintenance staff.