Central Railway employees went on a daylong hunger strike in Thane on Monday. They were demanding the filling of vacant posts and a service track (railway line) for maintenance work. The strike was organised by the Central Railway Majdoor Sangh (CRMS) in front of the station manager’s office at Thane railway station.
VS Solanki, chairman of Thane CRMS, said, “Railway authorities have increased the number of trains, tracks and also converted nine-car trains to 12-car. But, they haven’t increased manpower to manage the extra load. There are vacancies for the posts of station manager, booking clerk, announcers, maintenance staff, ticket checkers and trackman.”
The employees are also demanding a service track between Kalyan and CST station for local trains. “Every year, around 30 maintenance workers are run over by trains while on duty. Every three minutes a train passes on the track leading to accidents. We demand that railway authorities change this system of maintenance. There is a service track for maintenance of long distance trains, we want a similar service track for local trains,” Solanki said.
More than 80 employees joined the strike and the union claimed that they didn’t involve more employees as local train schedules would have been disrupted. The employees said they had been making the demands for more than a year now and if their demands were not met they would bring the central railway to a standstill.
The railway administration refused to comment on the strike saying it was a union issue and the railways would like to stay out of it.