The Central Railway and Western Railway Motormen who run the local train services of Mumbai organised a two-day strike recently.
These motormen who are responsible for carrying 75 lakh commuters every day in Mumbai had struck work on May 3rd and May 4th 2010 since the Railway Management refused to address their grievances. They resumed work only when it was announced by the Government in the floor of the Parliament on May 4th that the Railways would look into the grievances of the motormen and resolve the same by June 15th.
However as on June 15th the Railways Management has not announced any measures to improve the working conditions of the motormen. Nor have they reassured the agitated motormen that any process is in place to look into their grievances. Hence this shows the utterly anti worker attitude of the Railway Authorities and that they cannot be trusted even when they announce in the Floor of the Parliament that they will look in to workers problems.
The Motormen of Central and Western Railways had much earlier given a one day strike notice for January 26th 2010. However at that time they had called off their strike on the assurances of the authorities that they will look into their f=grievances. At a meeting with the Management of Railwys on January 28th, the Management had announced that a Fast Track Committee would be constituted within two days to look into their problems. The Fast Track Committee was constituted only on Feb 15th and was to announce its recommendations within two months, that is by April 15th 2010. However since on April 15th there was no announcement by the railways, the Motormen gave an advance two week strike notice to the Railways for May 3rd.
The strike on May 3rd and 4th was a complete success and brought the entire central and Western Railway services in Mumbai city to a halt. In support of these 1000 motormen of Mumbai several support actions were organised all over India by members of All India Loco Running Staff Association representing 40,000 engine drivers in the Indian Railways, including Goods drivers, Mail and Express Train Drivers and Local train drivers of the Metro cities. The grievances of these drivers are all very similar . They have to work long duty hours without adequate rest. Their wages are not commensurate with their work. Frustrated with the continued empty promises of the Railway Management to refdress their grievances , it was the heroic Motormen of Mumbai who took the initiative and went on strike. Their strike action was supported by these engine drivers all over India who went to duty on May 3rd without food.
Faced with this complete unity of the Motormen the Central Govt and the Railway Management gave a false assurance on the Floor of the Parliament to fool the workers. After being betrayed once more by the Railway Management the Motormen are planning their next course of action . In the meantime in support of the just struggle of the Motormen, Lok Raj Sanghtahtna and Kamgar Ekta Chalwal brought out a joint statement supported by many major trade unions and have jointly with the motormen and these trade unions distributed more than 10,000 of these leaflets among the public in Mumbai.
By LRS, Mumbai correspondent