Railways relent, motormen to not go on mass leave today | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Railways relent, motormen to not go on mass leave today

mumbai Updated: Jan 26, 2010 01:15 IST
HT Correspondent
Western Railway

Hours before all 377 motormen from Western Railway (WR) and 424 of the 626 motormen from Central Railway (CR) were to go on mass leave, they called off their plan.

This means trains will run as usual in the city on Tuesday.

“The en mass leave by motormen has been called off. The Rail Board will constitute a fast-track committee to examine their demands,” said S. Gupta, chief public relations officer, WR.

On Monday evening, commuters rushing to catch trains at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Churchgate station were surprised to see motormen clapping and cheering.

On hearing that the railway authorities have agreed to look into the motormen’s demands, commuters too smiled.

The motormen have five demands: provide an assistant to every motorman, set up a proper pay grade system, recalculate allowance from Rs 1.67 per km to Rs 2.87 per km, pay approximately Rs 200 to those who work on national holidays, and an allowance for night shifts.

The Rail Board has already accepted two of the demands — providing allowance for working on national holidays and for night shifts.

“The rail administration has promised to address the issues within two months,” said a motorman, representing the Joint Action Forum of WR and CR Motormen.

After a marathon meeting from 12 pm to 4.30 pm, the general managers of both CR and WR and a member (Staff) of the Rail Board promised the motormen that a fast-track committee will be set up to look into their demands.

“We were trying to convince them that a strike, especially on Republic Day, wouldn’t be right,” said S.M.A. Razi, acting chief public relations officer, CR.

The rail administration and the motormen will now meet the Rail Board in Delhi on Thursday.

However, a section of motormen have threatened to go on indefinite hunger strike from May 1 if the issues are not resolved on time.

The rail authorities had already made alternate plans in case Monday’s talks failed.

Both CR and WR requested the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking and Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to run 3,400 additional buses.

Also, WR had planned to allow 21 motormen, who operate engines and trains inside the railway yard, to run trains after giving them a crash course.