The railway unions feel they are not prepared to go on an indefinite strike
Signalling the weakening of the organised labour’s hold over Indian Railways, the country’s largest employer, the indefinite strike planned on November 23 this year has been deferred.
The railway unions feel they were not prepared to go on an indefinite strike. They will now organise campaigns to mobilise workers.
“It was also noted that there are states which have not held state-level conventions and consequently have not brought into being the state apparatus required to spearhead a serious action like indefinite strike,” said the resolution of the unions’ National Joint Council of Action, which held its meeting on September 30.
The unions felt no serious programme of action was undertaken by state leaders, “which has created a certain complacency in the movement”.
“The meeting also noted that after the impressive march to Parliament held on April 28, no serious programme of action was undertaken, which has created certain complacency in the movement.
"The meeting noted the necessity to rejuvenate the NJCA functioning at all levels,” the resolution further stated.
However, railway union leaders said the strike was deferred mainly because of the government’s decision to extend the term of the 7th Central Pay Commission Report by four months up to December 30 this year.
This was contested by the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which claimed the move to call off the strike was a “face saver”.
The trade unions of the Indian Railways, which employs 1.31 million workers, had called an indefinite strike after 41 years.
This was to mark their protest against government’s plans to bring private participation in railway projects and foreign direct investment in the sector.
The strike was supposed to affect about 23 million passengers that travel daily through railways and cost the railways Rs 2,400 crore.
“We want to examine the 7th Pay Commission Report before going ahead with the strike,” Shiv Gopal Mishra, general-secretary of All India Railwaymen’s Federation, told Business Standard.
The unions will take a call on the next strike date during the Budget session of Parliament to be held in February next year.
Image: Porters transport goods on a hand-pulled trolley to load onto a train at a railway station in Kolkata. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
The image is used for representational purpose only