Railway workers plan stir against Centre’s labour laws

New Delhi: Voicing concern over Centre’s plan to introduce reforms in labour laws and liberalise FDI in railways, Hind Mazdoor Sabha has announced a nationwide indefinite strike of railway workers in November.

It will be the first general strike by railway workers in 41 years. Employees of other Central Government establishments are likely to join the stir.

“Amendments planned by the Centre to labour laws will paralyse workers as they won’t be able to form unions. If anyone tries to raise demands through strike, their protest will be termed illegal. They will be punished, penalized.

“Keeping in mind dilution of labour laws and liberalization of FDI in railways in addition to our 34 other demands, we have decided to call the strike across India,” HMS General Secretary Harbhajan Singh Sidhu said, referring to the amendments proposed to the Industrial Disputes Act and Centre’s plan to allow 100 per cent FDI in railways.

Sidhu said allowing FDI will lead to complete control of private parties over railway management and insisted the decision be rolled back.

HMS’s 34-point charter of demands include removing alleged anomalies in Sixth Pay Commission, imposing ban on outsourcing regular works on contract like track maintenance and recruiting personnel.

Sidhu said employees from departments of defence, postal services, coal, civil aviation, port and dock, income and sales tax too will join the railway men in the strike.

HMS said Indian Railway employees had last called for a strike in 1974. Around 17 lakh workers were believed to have participated in the 20-day strike affecting services.

“There has been no strike in Indian Railways after 1974.

Whenever we announced battles, the Indian Government did accept our demands. But the Government is meting injustice to workers leading to our decision to go on strike,” Sidhu added.