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Oct 28, 2009

Association demands judicial review of working conditions of loco pilots

The biennial general body meeting of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) has urged the Railway Ministry to appoint a judicial review committee to look into the duty hours and rest patterns of loco pilots.

The meeting held here on Monday was attended by zonal president R. Murali. Presided over by central vice-president K.A.S. Mani, the event was inaugurated by the joint secretary general of the AILRSA, N.B. Dutta.It was addressed by secretarial member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sivagnanam, secretary of the Coordination Committee of Central Government Employees and Workers S. Karunanidhi, and joint secretary of the Dakshin Railway Employees Union R.G. Pillai.

The meeting condoled the death of 22 passengers in the recent Mathura train accident. It expressed anguish over routine comments by members of the top railway management putting the blame for accidents on “human failure” without addressing the causes for any such human failure.It is evident from past accidents that the railway management had not taken any corrective measures to avoid human failure by amending the draconian rules of Hours of Employment Regulations that are in force from 1931. This involved duty limit extending up to 13 hours, six continuous nights of duty a week and depressed weekly rest of 30 hours against 40 hours for similarly classified workers and prolonged outstation detention of 96 hours.

Though the system of working had changed much in the railways since 1931, issues pertaining to loco pilots and working conditions have not witnessed any change.Posts under the wrongly assessed and depressed sanctioned strength was not being filled up. This is resulting in denial of leave and weekly rest, worsening the situation. Under the guise of economy, safety was being compromised.The meeting demanded that the grade pay of Assistant Loco Pilots should be increased from Rs.1,900 to Rs.2,800. Distinct grade pays should be allotted to loco pilots handling shunting, goods vehicles, passenger trains, express and mail trains.

The meeting demanded revision of rate of running allowance as per the running allowance committee (RAC 1980 formula).

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