Railway workers and Central Government Employees all over India demonstrated on 19th September 2018 in front of their respective head quarters. This action was carried out despite threats from the government that wages would be cut and disciplinary action will be taken against any worker participating in the protest. The National Joint Council of Action (NJCA), representing 32 lakh workers belonging to Railways(13 lakh), Defence (6 lakh) and other Central Government employees(Income Tax, Post, BARC, etc.) have decided to step up their agitation after the failure of the Central Government to look into their grievances despite repeated assurances.
In a letter to the Prime Minister of India dated 19/09/2018, NJCA said that it was because of the assurances given to them by the Group of Ministers of the Central Government, consisting of Home Minister, Finance Minister and Railway Minister there their indefinite strike call was called off. However the assurances remain unfulfilled so far. That is why the NJCA threatened the Government that they would be forced to call for further protest actions if their demands were not fulfilled. The NJCA said that four committees were formed to revise the minimum wage, fitment formula, allowances and to look into the aspects of National Pension Scheme(NPS). The report of these committees has been overlooked by the Central Government and some of the reports were not even made public.
The main demands given in the letter are a) Upward Revision of Minimum Wage and Fitment Formula b) Exclusion of Central GovernmentEmployees from the purview of National Pension Scheme (NPS) and bringing back the old pension scheme to all Central Government Employees irrespective of their date of appointment. c) Revision of running allowance of running staff of Indian Railways, consisting of Engine Drivers and Guards, with effect from 01.01.2016.
In addition, the NJCA is protesting the miserable working conditions of the railway employees, where as many as two railway workers die every day in accidents all over India. NJCA has demanded payment of risk allowance to all railway workers who work in safety category. NJCA has also highlighted the fact that there are 1,30,000 vacancies in the safety category of Indian Railways, which include the engine drivers, guards, S&T, electrical and mechanical, gangmen, etc. NJCA has demanded that these posts should be immediately filled up.
MEL supports the just demands of the Central Governmentand rail workers.