Indian Railways is known as the world’s largest rail network. Railway workers also keep protesting from time to time regarding their demands.
But when the railway workers warn of going on strike-like situation, then the whole rail system shakes. In such a situation, when the station masters across the country, considered to be the backbone of the Indian Railways, have warned of going on a mass holiday or strike, then the situation can become very critical.
The All India Station Masters Association, an organization leading about 35,000 station masters, has announced to go on a-one day mass holiday on May 31 if the five-point demands are not met.
National President of All India Station Masters Association Dhananjay Chandratre and Union General Secretary P Sunil Kumar said that a notice related to five-point demands has been handed over to the CEO and Chairman of Railway Board and detailed information regarding the mass holiday of May 31.
The association believes that they have been fighting for their demands for a long time. But no step has been taken by the Railways in this regard.
He told that 35,000 station masters have been struggling with their demands since 7 October 2020, but no hearing has been held so far. He said that our demands mainly include early filling up of all railway vacancies.
Apart from this, restoration of Night Duty Allowance to all Railway employees without any ceiling, providing the benefit of MACP in the cadre of Station Masters with effect from 01.01.2016 instead of 16.02.2018, Reconstitution of Station Master cadre with revised designations and Safety and stress allowance is given to the station masters for their contribution in safe and timely running of trains.
The association says that apart from the station masters, these demands are also related to other cadres and railway employees.
All the demands touch the sentiments of all railway employees in some way or the other.
He said that the Station Master Association has taken this decision after a long struggle when our demands were not accepted by the administration.
For this, the Station Master’s Association protested by sending an e-mail to the Railway Board officials by the officials of ESMA in the first phase to get their demands convinced.
In the second phase, the station masters of the entire Indian Railways protested by lighting candles at the station in the night duty shift on 15 October 2020.
The third phase of protest, keeping the train operation smoothly, from 20 October to 26 October 2020, train operations were carried out by wearing black badges for a week.
On 31 October 2020, the station masters of the entire Indian Railways went on a one-day hunger strike, keeping the train operation smoothly. In the fifth phase, 35,000 station masters on duty and off duty of Indian Railways staged a sit-in in front of each divisional office keeping the train operation smoothly.
In the sixth phase, a memorandum was handed over to the public representatives of all the parliamentary constituencies and a memorandum was handed over to the Railway Minister.
Not only this, after meeting the Minister of State for Railways in the seventh phase, he was apprised of the problems.
Despite this, all the demands of the station masters are still pending. The orders of Night Duty Ceiling Limit are pending for approval in Finance after getting approved from DoPT.
Therefore, the Central Executive of the Association has unanimously decided to take a mass holiday of all the station masters across the country on May 31.