Between 23-25 November 2011, Motormen of the Western Railways, organized under the banner of the Western Railway Motormen’s Association, went on a work to rule agitation. This resulted in disruption of the normal running of trains. They were protesting against the suspension of a motorman for crossing a signal at a platform.
Due to the dislocation of services which resulted, the authorities were forced to call the motormen and their association for talks. It was only after an assurance that their demands would be looked into that the motormen withdrew their agitation.
It may be recalled that in February 2006, the Railway Management amended the existing rules and introduced Amendment Slip No 203, whereby, the motorman was solely responsible for observing the platform signals. Prior to this amendment, this responsibility was jointly shared by the motorman and the guard.
Following this amendment, 4 motormen have been suspended from service and the latest and fifth one was on 23rd November 2011. It must be pointed out that if a motorman crosses a signal he is immediately suspended from service.
It has been a long standing demand of the motormen that they are provided with an assistant motorman. Motormen have to observe 125 signals in a trip from Churchgate to Virar. In a day he has to look out for 400-500 signals. This is apart from observing the tracks, where people frequently cross. It was grossly unfair to burden him with more duties. MEL has in several articles highlighted the severely stressful condition in which the motormen and the engine drivers of the Indian Railways have to work.
It may be recalled that twenty years ago the Railways employed 20 lakh people. In the last twenty years, this number has come down to 13 lakhs. The number of Class IV employees has reduced by half. The number of Class 3 employees (which include motormen and engine drivers) has remained the same while the number of officers has doubled! The number of trains have also multiplied.
This is a direct result of the anti worker policy followed by the railway management. MEL fully supports the just demands of the motormen and engine drivers of Indian Railways.