To strike or not to strike? | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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To strike or not to strike?

Motormen who drive Mumbai’s suburban trains are unhappy. A panel constituted by the Railway Board has turned down their demands for which they went on strike recently.

mumbai Updated: Jun 19, 2010 01:14 IST
Shashank Rao

Motormen who drive Mumbai’s suburban trains are unhappy. A panel constituted by the Railway Board has turned down their demands for which they went on strike recently.

The panel, called Fast Track Committee, was constituted on February 15 to look into the demands made by the motormen running suburban local trains.

The committee concluded that the existing arrangement is adequate for the motormen. It has explained each of the points put forth by Joint Action Forum (JAF) that includes 800 motormen who went on a two-day strike from May 3 to 4.

“The committee has dismissed our pleas. We will decide in our core committee meeting whether strike could be an option or not,” said Devendra Yadav, core member, JAF.

Higher pay scale to motormen with insurance cover of Rs 15 lakh, an allowance for night shifts, reduction in duty hours, re-computation of per kilometre allowance and an assistant to every motorman were the demands made by motormen.

The committee report stated that any hike in pay is no longer justified as the new pay scale allotted by the sixth pay commission has already examined the work profile of suburban motormen. However, the Commission felt that insurance cover is justified and that the Railway Ministry should work on a scheme.

The motormen wanted an increase in night allowance and running allowance. The committee noted that there was no change required.

The motormen have been demanding a reduction in number of working hours due to the stress. The Committee observed that the minimum working hours for other motormen is minimum 10 hours while the motormen on Western and Central Railway work for 6 hours.

The motormen also demanded higher allowance per kilometer at par with motormen running outstation trains. But the committee stated that there cannot be any comparison between motormen running suburban trains and outstation trains.

The motormen demanded an assistant, similar to a motorman running long-distance trains, to ensure safety.

But the committee observed that an assistant in long-distance trains is required to get down and inspect the train and follow other procedures, which doesn't happen in a suburban line.