NFIR warns of nationwide agitation if wage demands not fulfilled
The National Federation of Indian Railways (NFIR) and the Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) on Wednesday threatened to launch an agitation from March 13 if their demands were not fulfilled. The demands include revision of the minimum wage of skilled workers Rs 22,000 per month, guaranteed pension, abolition of the New Pension Scheme and filling up of 2.50 lakh vacant posts in the railways.
NFIR general secretary Dr M Raghavaiah claimed at a press conference that the government had agreed to these demands in 2014. "The demands are not new. The government had agreed to fulfil them in 2014. We are reminding the government to fulfil its promise," he said, warning that otherwise the unions would bring the railways to a halt though "it is not our agenda".
"...we would be forced to do that if the government continues backing out from its promise," he said. A massive demonstration will be held at Jantar-Mantar in New Delhi on March 13, where railway, as well as central government employees, would gather, said Raghavaiah.
To a question whether the government would be able to meet the demands as the model of code of conduct for Lok Sabha polls would be imposed in coming days, he said, "The government can reassure us that it would meet these demands after June when a new government is formed." Raghavaiah claimed that the Indian Railway on February 8, 2014 had agreed to the federation's demands. J G Mahurkar, another trade union leader, said the "breach of agreement" by the government on revision of minimum wage and fitment formula of 7th Pay Commission had disappointed railway and central government workers.
The union leaders also opposed the Bullet train project, terming it as "unnecessary". "The government should rather infuse this Rs 1 lakh crore to strengthen the existing railway infrastructure," said Raghavaiah.
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