On 29th May, loco engine drivers demonstrated in every depot across all 16 divisions, under the leadership of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA). This demonstration was in protest against the announcement of the mileage allowance that is baseless, i.e. not based on any formula. The loco staff also raised their long standing demands that have remained unfulfilled.
The loco drivers announced that if their demands were not accepted, they would go on strike on 18th July, prior to which they would go on a hunger strike on 16th-17th July
Comrade Ramsaran, vice-president of the Association pointed out, “we have been raising our demands since the last many years; we have carried out many hunger strikes, many protest demonstrations, and have submitted several petitions with our demands to the government and to the Railway Board. Our central leadership has met the Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal, with respect to these demands. Despite all this, our demands have been ignored by both the government and the Railway Board. Therefore we are forced to take this step now.”
The principal demands of the loco drivers are:
- Stop all FDI in Railways
- Mileage allowance to be calculated on the basis of the 1980 RAC formula, and all arrears be paid from 1st January 2016 on this basis
- Anomalies in pension of running staff who have retired prior to 2016 which is based on R.B.E 13/2019 to be corrected
- Cancel the NPS and enable all workers to opt for the old pension scheme
- Implement the report of the Safety Committee without any delay.