Motormen threaten to go on strike again
The HinduTRAVEL TRAVAILS: Mumbai commuters travelling on the sides of a diesel engine on Tuesday as local train services were disrupted due to the strike by motormen. The strike has been called off. Photo: Paul Noronha
“Our demands have been pending since January 26… it's the administration that is stalling services”
The demands of motormen of the Mumbai locals have been pending since January 26, when they first decided to go on strike. However, at that time, the Railway authorities stepped in with the assurance that a fast track committee would look into their demands. The Joint Action Forum of motormen also intimated its decision to go on strike in May if no move was made to settle the demands.
However, a union spokesperson said the fast track committee had not even met them once and that much time had lapsed since they first made their demands. From Monday, the motormen went on an indefinite hunger strike and many were hospitalised. As a result, by evening trains were stopped at various stations and chaos reigned.
Head of Western Railway Motormen's Association Devendra Yadav said: “If our demands are not met we will go on hunger strike again. We also discussed the issue with [Maharashtra] Home Minister R.R. Patil. The government has assured us that the grade pay for assistant drivers will be raised from Rs. 1,900 to Rs. 2,800 and that for the motormen, from Rs. 4,200 to Rs. 4,800. We are not asking for anything extra. We are keeping within the ambit of the Railway Board stipulations.”
The Union was also defensive about the strike. Association secretary Sunil Gurav said, “We were not the ones to stall the train services; it's the administration. To malign the motormen, they started announcing since yesterday [Monday] that trains are not running due to the strike. They got unauthorised people from outside to operate the trains. Now the same administration has been brought to its knees. We will not get back to work till the suspended motormen are taken back on duty.”
The motormen sat in protest at the Churchgate station here awaiting the letter of assurance from the Western Railways general manager.
In a late development, Mr. Patil visited the Churchgate station and assured the group of motormen that orders revoking the 20 dismissals had been cleared. He urged them to go back to duty and said he had come to the station expressly because he had heard that they were not willing to join work till such an assurance was given.
On Monday, commuters were stranded all over the city and people staying in the far flung suburbs were the worst affected. While extra buses were pressed into service, vehicles piled up on key arterial roads causing massive traffic jams. Some travelled all night by road to reach home on Tuesday morning. Many commuters stayed back in their offices, slept on railway platforms or tried to walk home. Women were hit hard as many had to spend the night at the station.
While the Central and Western Railways had emergency plans in place, only 20 per cent of the services were operational on Tuesday. Barely 15 per cent of the people reported for work in the city that day. In the morning, 20 motormen, 10 each from Central and Western Railways, were dismissed. Later, 170 motormen from the Central Railway, who were obstructing the work of the others, were taken away by the police. By evening, 70 motormen reported for work in the Central side, the spokesperson said.
Things reached a pretty pass on Tuesday morning with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan calling an emergency meeting, where he gave the motormen time till late afternoon to call off the strike. He said the Centre had allowed the State to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act, adding that he would use it only if necessary.
In view of the inconvenience to the public, he also appointed Mr. Patil to negotiate with the motormen. The Home Minister's reassurances led to the strike being called off. Mr. Patil said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Mr. Chavan had spoken to Ms. Banerjee on the issue.
Mr. Patil criticised the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena for supporting the strike call and then making a ruckus by switching sides in Parliament. On Tuesday morning, Sena chief Bal Thackeray called on the motormen to return to work after having supporting them earlier. He said he would take up their demands with the government.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray threatened that if the motormen failed to return to duty by afternoon, the MNS would resort to an agitation. Some MNS activists demonstrated at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Thane.
Motormen threaten to go on strike again
PME Due Date
Copy of Railway Board’s letter No. 69/H/3/11 dated 06.12.1974
Subject: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Visual Sub-Committee.
6. Periodical re-examination of serving Railway Employees:
6.l. In order to ensure the continued ability of Railway employees in Classes A l, A 2, A 3, B l and B 2 to discharge their duties with safety, they will be required to appear for re-examination at the following stated intervals throughout their service as indicated below:
6.1.1. Classes A l, A 2 and A 3 —At the termination of every period of three years, calculated from the date of appointment until they attain the age of 45 years, and thereafter annually until the conclusion of their service.
Note: (l) The staff in categories A l, A 2 and A 3 should be sent for special medical examination in the interest of safety under the following circumstances unless they have been under the treatment of a Railway Medical Officer.
(a) Having undergone any treatment or operation for eye trouble irrespective of the duration of sickness.
(b) Absence from duty for a period in excess of 90 days.
(2) If any employee in medical category A has been periodically medically examined at any time within one year prior to his attaining the age of 45, his next medical examination should be held one year from the due date of the last medical examination and subsequent medical examination annually thereafter.
If, however, such an employee has been medically examined, at any time earlier, than one year prior to his attaining the age of 45, his next medical examination should be held on the date he attains the age of 45 and subsequent medical examination annually thereafter.
Ammendment: It was ammended in 1993 as below
Age Group PME Due
Age 00-45 every 4yrs
Age 45-55 every 2yrs
Age 55-60 every year
As per Rly Bd's Guideline of Medical Exam issued vide LNo. 88/H/5/12 dated 24-01-1993
a) PME would be done at the termination of every period of 4 years from date of appointment / Initial medical Exam till the date of attainment of age of 45 years, every 2 years upto 55 years & there after annual till retirement.
b) Employees who has been periodically examined at any time within 2years prior to his attaining the age of 45years would be examined after 2years from the date of last PME & subsequent PME for every 2years upto 55years age.Of
NRMU 4 you
6.1.2. Classes B-1 and B-2—On attaining the age of 45 years, and thereafter at the termination of every period of five years.