The Railway administration has followed a deliberate policy of dividing railway workers, setting one section against another and thus demoralizing workers and smashing their struggles. As part of the game plan, the Western Railways recently announced that it was extending suburban services from Virar to Dahanu, but that these suburban trains would be run by goods drivers.
At present, the Western Railway Suburban Services run from Churchgate to Virar, a distance of 60 KM. The extension from Virar to Dahanu would entail a further run of 64 Km. On February 26, 2013, nearly 300 agitated motormen gathered at Churchgate to press for their demand that they be allowed to run the extended suburban services, and not be replaced by goods train drivers for the additional stretch.
The Motormen of Western Railway objected to this move of the railway authorities on several grounds. Primarily they recognized it as an attempt to penalize them for their militant struggles over the years. The railway administration was deliberately trying to set one section of drivers against another to break the unity of all railway drivers. Furthermore, a substantial portion of the wages of motormen is on the basis of Kilometers of run. This is similar to the case of pilots and cabin crew of Air India. At present, the locomen of Western Railways Suburban Services log in much less mileage then the All India average for locomen, because of the shorter run. They naturally want the run to be increased.
Having learnt from their past experiences that it is important to get the support of the travelling public for their agitations, the motormen have been contacting passenger associations, elected representatives and media, right from the month of December 2012. They explained their grievances and put the blame squarely on the railway authorities in case they were forced to take direct action.
Seeing the militant mood of the motormen, immediately after the General Body Meeting of the Motormen on February 26th 2013, the railway authorities called WRMA, the representative association of the Motormen, and told them that the Motormen would be driving the entire distance from Churchgate to Dahanu.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar hails this victory of the Motormen of Western Railway in their struggle against the railway authorities and their attempts to harass the motormen. It calls on the Motormen to maintain their militant unity, which has been the cause of all the victories they have achieved.