Western Railway motormen have approached the National Human Rights Commission and chief justice of the Bombay High Court against the “inhuman duty timings”. They have demanded alternate jobs if the railway administration is not able to fulfill their demands.
“Our life has become miserable due to duty timings. We have tried all means and are waiting for the outcome of the June 15 meeting. If motormen are forced to go on an agitation again, it will be irreversible and we will not be responsible for any public inconvenience,” a WR motorman said.
“Many of us requested the administration to give us alternate jobs, but the railways are not allowing us to do that. We don’t get weekly offs, we hardly get time to sleep and spend time with the family,” the motormen said, adding that this was a violation of their basic human rights.
A letter was forwarded by the motormen to the commission and the chief justice on Friday, saying that the motormen are forced to work 365 days round the clock and there are no means to drink water or answer nature’s calls in the driving cab or during duty hours.
Motormen on suburban trains went on a near-two day strike on May 3, paralysing the city’s transport system. Commuters blamed the railway administration for its failure to gauge the seriousness of the situation.
Home Minister R.R. Patil intervened and said the railway administration would address their grievances by June 15.
Motormen now say that doctors on Western Railway refuse to give them medical certificates even if a motorman is genuinely ill and so they have to work even when they are not well. They also complained against rowdy commuters and bad working conditions in the driving cab, leading to health problems.
The administration said that they are looking into the problems and a fast-track committee had been appointed to look into the issues.