After the recent motormen’s threat to go on mass leave, stationmasters on the Central Railway (CR) are planning the same on February 4.
Nearly 780 stationmasters on CR are applying for mass leave in protest of the rail authorities’ failure to address their issues, mainly filling vacancies. “The stationmasters work 10 to 12 hours daily and it is getting hectic as authorities are increasing services,” said Pradeep Kumar Das, president, All India Station Masters’ Association.
“There are 900-odd stationmasters, of which 100 have applied for casual leave to participate in protest. But we have turned (them) down. Talks are on,” said CR chief PRO, S. Razi. Nearly 250 vacancies need to be filled, as many are shuttling between the main line stations and new stations on additional lines like Roha-Panvel.
“Many stationmasters were transferred to this new line on Konkan Railway. Many are working at higher grades without any salary hike,” said Das.
The National Railway Mazdoor Union is spearheading the protest while the association claimed that stationmasters from Western Railway are supporting this movement, though they have not applied for leave. “We are supporting them as the problem of recruitment can be solved by the zonal railway, unlike the issue of salary hike under the Sixth Pay Commission, which is dealt by the Rail Board,” said Haridasan, Union’s general secretary.
“We don’t want to inconvenience commuters, but if the authority doesn’t pay heed to our demands, it might lead to problems in train services,” Das said.