If the government does not intervene, this could be first major strike after one called by George Fernandes in 1974. Unhappy with the government’s continued indifference to a slew of demands, the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), one of the largest central government employees’ unions, has decided to start the process of calling an indefinite railways strike. And, if the said process comes to a successful conclusion, the country will be faced with the first major strike after the one called by George Fernandes as the AIRF president in 1974, following which the Emergency was declared.
“The reluctant attitude of the government of India and ministry of railways has forced the AIRF to take the decision to launch the campaign for preparation of the strike under the leadership of comrade Umraomal Purohit, the president of AIRF,” a press release from the AIRF issued in June 29 said.“We are in consultation with other central government employees associations and once everyone comes on board we will call for general body council meeting where the decision to go on strike will be taken,” Shiva Gopal Mishra, the general secretary, AIRF, told Governance Now.
The entire process, according to Mishra, could take three to four months, and in case the government does not intervene, the said strike could take place in October this year.The AIRF had listed its demands in its 88th annual general meeting (AGM) held in Vishakhapatnam in December last year and sent it to the government. “It’s been months since the list of demand was sent for action, but to no avail,” said Mishra.
The demand included among others: filling up all the vacant posts; stop outsourcing of perennial jobs, scrap the new pension schemes; implementation of the cadre restructuring committee; upgrade in the technician's grade, improvement of pay scales of running staff and clearance of arrears. The 88th AGM held by the AIRF in Visakhapatnam, December last year had flagged off following concerns of the railways employees.