After Railway Employees put strike notice, Govt finally announces bonus

Railway employees to get 7 day bonus | The Hindu

Since 2018, the Modi Government has been slowly privatising the Indian railways and in July began inviting Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to private players for the operation of passenger train services. Railway employees were already frustrated by this, but their outrage increased because of non-payment of bonus and dues. For this, unions announced  they will take “Direct Action” on 22nd October.

AIRF (All India Railwaymens Federation), the largest and oldest federation of railway employees, called for ‘Direct Action’ if the bonus is not received by 20th October. While what this means exactly has been unsure, people speculated that employees would completely stop work since they have been giving strike notices for some time against privatisation of AIR.
The Employees were frustrated by the lack of announcements regarding the bonuses, especially during this precarious time. Usually, the bonus is made available Sharadiya Navratri. But this time even after the day of Navratri, the government was silent about the bonus.
The bonus of 2019-20 is due and it is “unfair” to deny last year’s bonus, citing this year’s pandemic, the union said. Trade union leaders stated that the railway workers worked round the clock for seven days to maintain the necessary supplies from catering to the entire country in the lockdown, and felt cheated.
AIRF General Secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said, “It was decided in the meeting that if the order is not issued by the Ministry of Railways for payment of productivity-related bonus from Railways by 20 October, then direct action will be taken on 22 October 2020.”
What will happen in direct action- strike, work boycott or nationwide protests was not clear. The federation has also expressed concern over issues related to privatisation, pension and dearness allowance of railways.
It seems to avoid such a scenario, the Government finally announced that payment of bonuses for the employees for 2019-2020. On Wednesday the Government approved of the bonus before Dussehra as part of the productivity-linked bonus (PLB) for the year 2019-2020. The the salary limit was fixed at Rs 7,000 per month. The maximum amount payable to an eligible railway employee as bonus has been fixed at Rs 17,951 for 78 days of work. This has been estimated to be around ₹ 2,081.68 crore in total for 11.58 workers.
“The decision of the Cabinet shall be implemented before the holidays for this year as well. For the year 2019-20, PLB equivalent to 78 days’ wages will be paid which is expected to motivate the employees for working towards improving the performance of the railways.” the cabinet said.
It is unsure how the unions will go forward with regards to their demands against privatisation, but there hasn’t been reports on today’s railway strike and it appears the question of direct action has been put on halt.


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July 2024


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