In a circular issued by the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Lucknow, Northern Railway on the 30th of May 2019, all Departments of Lucknow Division have been given a target of surrendering 1% of their fixed/permanent posts in the Group C and Group D categories. Hence out of total strength of 26260 workers in these 2 categories in Lucknow Division, the overall target is to reduce 262 posts in the current financial year, 2019-2020.
Lucknow Division is one of the 5 Divisions of Northern Railway, the other 4 being, Ambala, Delhi, Ferozepur and Moradabad. Similarly, the Northern Railway is one of the 17 railway zones of the Indian Railways. Group C and Group D workers constitute 98.8% of the total workforce of the Indian Railways. It is the policy of the Railway Board that all across the Indian Railways 17 zones, the 1% target reduction should be implemented and the above circular of the DRM of Northern Railway is only an example of the same policy being implemented all over India.
Hence for a total staff strength of around 13 Lakh employees in the Indian Railways, this works out to surrender of 13,000 posts every year. Further with 3 % workers retiring every year, the total reduction will be 52000 workers every year in the Indian Railways!
This policy of reduction of the strength workforce by 1% every year was openly announced by the then Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee in her Vision 2020 document presented to the Parliament in 2009. This policy has been implemented by all the successive Railway Ministers, whether belonging to the Congress or BJP.
Whereas the freight and passenger traffic of the Indian Railways has been increasing every year, the reduction of the manpower of the Indian Railways means that the extra work has to be outsourced to private contractors. This is a part of the overall objective of the Indian Railways to privatise the Indian Railways step by step.
The reduction of the permanent workers of the Indian Railways is another means of attacking the workers by weakening their fighting capacity. The weakening of the organised strength of the Indian Railway workers leads to weakening of the strength of the Indian working class in general as the railway workers are one of the vanguard fighters for defence of the interests of the working class of India.
MEL calls on the workers of the Indian Railways to unite to oppose the privatisation of railways and the reduction of its workforce.