Railway employees demand ‘frontline worker’ status, priority vaccination
- "Responding to a clarion call given by the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), railwaymen across the country demanded, through a Twitter Campaign, the status of 'Frontline Workers' for them..." All India Railwaymen's Federation said in a statement.
The Railways Employee Union launched a campaign on Monday to demand they be declared ‘frontline workers’, as they have been working throughout the pandemic, losing around 2,000 colleagues to the virus. To this end a social media campaign with the hashtag ‘Treat Railway Employees Frontline Worker’ was also started on Twitter.
"Responding to a clarion call given by the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), railwaymen across the country demanded, through a Twitter Campaign, the status of 'Frontline Workers' for them, by tweeting to the prime minister, the railways and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare," All India Railwaymen's Federation (AIRF) said in a statement.
AIRF, the largest union of railway employees, had written to Railway minister Piyush Goyal in early May, demanding that those succumbing to Covid in the line of duty should be compensated ₹50 lakh, at par with other frontline workers, as opposed to the ₹25 lakhs they are currently being paid, and priority vaccination.
"We also appreciate the prime minister when during 'Mann Ki Baat' he called railwaymen as corona warriors. AIRF, since the beginning has been demanding parity between different cadres who are working 24x7 during this corona period and scarifying their lives. However, It is quite unfortunate that while other categories of front line workers viz medical staff, security forces, sanitation staff etc. are being paid ₹50 lakh as compensation but Railwaymen are being paid ₹25 lakh only,” AIRF general secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra had written.
While the government is extending all the benefits to the staff of other departments, treating them as 'Frontline Workers', Railwaymen are being given step-motherly treatment," Mishra said.
Mishra told news agency PTI that “serious discontent” is brewing amongst railway employees on not being given the due recognition of a frontline worker despite serving the nation during its crisis period. Mishra had claimed earlier that around 65,000 employees have made a successful recovery from Covid-19 and rejoined service, adding that a letter of appreciation from the Prime Minister is commendable but what railway workers really want is being treated at par with other frontline workers. He also said that the ongoing campaign will be extended if their demands are not met.