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Motormen strike called off, but chaos reigns in Mumbai

Last updated on: July 20, 2012 21:06 IST

Motormen strike called off, but chaos reigns in Mumbai

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Lakhs of commuters on the Western Railway's suburban lines breathed a sigh of relief after over 200 motormen called off their flash strike following negotiations with the management.

"The agitation has been called off and local services are expected to be normal in the next half-an-hour," a Western Railway spokesperson said.

The flash strike, which went on for a few hours, was withdrawn after the two sides came to the negotiation table, he said.

Train services on the busiest local line in the city were disrupted after the motormen went on flash strike on Friday evening demanding better work conditions.

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Image: The scene at the Churchgate station in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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The Western Line is the busiest of the three local lines in the metropolis and carries on an average over 3.4 million commuters on its 1,250 services on both directions every day.

When asked about the demands of the motormen that triggered the flash strike, the spokesperson said they were internal issues.

Railway sources, however, said that the motormen have for long been demanding provision of co-motormen to help them in operations besides addressing several safety issues.

On August 19 last year, the same motormen brought the city to a standstill after they went on a flash strike demanding that the railway authorities reinstate a colleague who was to be suspended from his duties.

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Image: People clamour for space at a bus stand in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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In 2010, they had gone on strike four times in January, February, May and October.

The May 3 strike was carried out by both the Central and Western lines motormen demanding pay hike. The strike left hapless commuters who were on their way back from work remained stranded at local stations, as the trains remained immobile on the tracks.

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Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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The motormen association has already issued an apology to the public for the inconvenience caused to them.

Railway officials claim that they were not informed about the strike.  They have urged commuters to take the express trains, if needed.

Motormen of the Western Railway have been agitating for the past few months for the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, which will ensure that they are above guards in terms of grade pay. It will also maintain the old formula for calculating running allowance and provide for assistant motormen.

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Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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