Workers hold protests across the country to oppose government’s move to privatise railways
Loco pilots and running staff launched a 24 hour hunger strike at Vishakhapatnam under the banner of All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) on 16 July against government’s decision to privatise railways. The striking workers also demanded scrapping of the New Pension Scheme and revision of the mileage rate as per the RAC 1980 formulae.
The All India Railwaymen Federation Workers opposed the government’s move to buy EMU and MEMU train sets from private players in Chennai on 15 July. Buying trains from private companies will not just lead to massive job cuts, it will cost the exchequer around 2.5 times more than the current procurement price. The government currently buys an 18 coach MEMU train set from the Indian Coach Factory at ₹97 crore while it is priced at ₹245 crore in the market.
Workers of western railway line of Mumbai struck work on 13 July opposing government’s decision to club 45 acres of prime residential land belonging to Railways in Matunga with Dharavi Redevelopment Project.
As protests spread across railway zones, the Railway board has issued a letter warning employees of ‘strict action’ for participating in protests. The Board has urged the employees to report against their colleagues who participate in strikes.
Karnataka: Police uses tear gas, lathi charge to disperse garment workers in Special Economic Zone
24 July 2019: Police lathi charged and used tear gas on protesting workers of Himmath Singh Garment factory at the Special Economic Zone – Hassan. Over 5,000 workers, including women, were protesting at the factory gate on 23 July demanding pending wages and opposing constant physical, mental and sexual abuse by management. Police also detained over 25 of the protesting workers.
Punjab: Food delivery workers strike work, demand higher commission
18 July 2019: Workers of Zomato, a food delivery company, went on strike against cut in their commissions by the company. The workers were paid a commission of ₹60 per delivery which got reduced to ₹30 per delivery. Company’s decision has impacted over 4,000 workers who work with the company as ‘independent contractors’.
Transport workers strike against wage delays and privatisation
The employees of Haryana State Transport Corporation under the banner of Haryana Roadways Employees Union went on strike on 21 July demanding that the transport department scrap the Kilometre Scheme. This scheme proposed by the transport department will allow private buses to ply certain routes with drivers employed by private parties and conductors employed by the department. The private bus fleet will be charged per kilometre under the scheme. The scheme does not only attempt to privatise, but has also been marred by irregularities and graft since its inception. The government had to scrap the tender awarded for 510 buses earlier after cases of graft came to light.
Employees of the metro bus service in Amritsar struck work under the banner of BRTS Employee’s Welfare Union on 18 July demanding regular payment of wages. The Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) project has been facing financial crisis since it was launched in January this year.
Over 23,000 employees of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation went on strike against non-payment of wages for the month of June on 1 July bringing to halt over 3,200 buses run by the corporation in Chennai district.
Karnataka: ASHA workers demand scrapping of ‘soft-payment’ system
9 July 2019: ASHA workers of the Dakshin Kannada district staged protests under the aegis of Karnataka Rajya Samyukta ASHA Karyakarteyara Sangha demanding the scrapping of the ‘soft-payment’ system which has led to anomalies and delays in payment and demanded hike in their honorarium from ₹8,000 per month to ₹12,000 per month. Over 48,000 ASHA worker’s salaries have been delayed due to the faulty payment system.
Tamil Nadu: BSNL workers demand pending wages, launch hunger strike
3 July 2019: Over 400 contract workers employed in Class IV and Class III jobs by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in Coimbatore went on hunger strike demanding payment of wages. Contract workers have not been paid wages for the last 6 months.