New Delhi: All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), a union of Railway employees, said that a strike ballot would be conducted among the employees of Indian Railways as a preliminary step for an indefinite strike seeking the government to accept a 36 point charter put forward by the Federation.
The secret strike ballot would be held on December 20 and 21 across the country.
According to the norms, the organisation has to go for the strike ballot before giving notice to the government for indefinite strike. At least 80% of the total employees should participate in the ballot and the union should get a nod from 66.9% to go ahead into the strike.
There are around 14.6 lakh employees in Railways and the Federation claims a strength of 11.7 lakh members.
“We have been in discussion with the government and they have so far agreed to set up the seventh pay commission and in a demand related to promotion. We are planning to ahead for the strike for the rest of the 36 demands,” said N Kanniah, working president of All India Railwaymen’s Federation and general secretary of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU).
The outcome of the ballot will be announced on December 22 or 23, and even afrmter that if the Government of India fails to agree for implementation of the demands in full, it would conduct a meeting by February, 2014, and declare the date for commencement of All India indefinite strike, he said.
He said that if a strike takes place, it would affect the people and the economy. The Railway currently handles around two crore passengers and 14 lakh tonne of goods every day, said Union officials.
He said that the last such indefinite strike was held in 1974, and it went on for 26 days before coming to a settlement.
The charter of demands also include filling up of vacant posts, sanction additional post in tandem with the increase in the number of trains and workload, scrap new pension scheme and cover all Railwaymen with Pension and Family Pension Scheme as available to the staff appointed prior to January 1, 2004 and to provide job to the wards of the employees who opt for voluntary retirement, based on the educational qualification of their wards.
The Union demanded implementation of guaranteed pension scheme for the employees, removal of all anomalies of sixth Central Pay Commission as agreed upon in the meeting of Departmental Anomaly Committee and resolve all anomalies pending before the anomaly committees and a fixed quota for the wards of Railwaymen in all recruitments through RRBs and RRCs, similar to the quota for ex-service men.