The Joint Action Committee of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) and the All India Guards Council (AIGC) organised a massive dharna at the Parliament to press for their demands.
Engine drivers and guards from different divisions of the Indian Railways took part in the dharna along with their families. Mazdoor Ekta Committee, Southern Railway Employees Union and the All India Station Masters Association supported and participated in the dharna.
All the speakers condemned the government for privatising the Indian Railway.
Speakers pointed out that the plan for handing over the Indian Railways into private hands was made by the Bibek Debroy Committee and the government was moving in the direction of implementing it. Among the recommendations made by Bibek Debroy Committee are – divide the Indian Railway into different companies and corporations, make a trust to handle the large immoveable property, close down the schools and health centres and parcel out other work into privates hands.
They pointed out that the aim of the government is to hand over the Indian Railway to Indian and foreign capitalists so that they can fulfil their greed for profits.
The General Secretary of AILRSA, Comrade M.N. Prasad appealed to all the unions to come together on one platform to oppose the privatisation of railways.
The General Secretary of AIGC, A.K. Srivastav said that the time has come to ‘do or die’.
Members of Parliament, A. Sampat and K. Karunakaran promised to raise workers’ demand in the Parliament and said that they supported the struggle of the railway workers.
The General Secretary of the Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, M. Krishnan emphasised the need to awaken the unions, workers, passengers and people about the privatisation of Indian Railway.
Different representatives of AILRSA and AIGC from the various Divisions of Indian Railway – D.N.S. Srinivas, U.S. Singh, V.K. Singh, Dwaraka Prasad, R.N. Dixit, D. Biswas, R.C. Gupta, Anil Kumar, S.S. Kamat, A.K. Pankaj, A.K. Thakur, R. Kumareshwar, J.N. Shah, A.P. Sahu, B.K. Jain, Manoj Rai, Paras Kumar, D.S. Kupakar, Lunaram, H.S. Bhadauria, Ravikant Kumar addressed the dharna along with Gautam Das of Kolkata Metro, M.S. Khan of All India Station Masters Association.
All speakers pledged their support for the strike call against privatisation.
A delegation of the Joint Action Committee handed over a petition with the following demands to the Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu:
1. Salaries to be hiked by 14.29% as per the Seventh Pay Commission
2. The empowered committee on the allowances for the engine drivers to be annulled
3. The anomalies in the salaries levels awarded to the loco drivers to be resolved
4. Railway Ministry to look into the recommendations of the High Powered Committee (HPC)
5. Review the minimum punishment of removal from service for crossing the danger signal
6. Close down the New Pension Scheme
7. Guards to be included in the class of employees requiring protection.