Retired staffers ‘instigating’ loco pilots to strike work in Palakkad division, says Railways

A section of loco pilots under the banner of AILRSA, has been striking demanding 46 hours of rest, instead of the existing 30 hours.


Published Jun 13, 2024 | 7:29 PM Updated Jun 13, 2024 | 7:29 PM

Palakkad Junction Railway Station. (Indian Railways)

The Palakkad Division of Southern Railway has accused a few retired loco pilots of “instigating” a section of loco running staff to go on strike and warned them of stern action.

A section of loco pilots under the banner of All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA), has been striking since 1 June demanding 46 hours of rest, instead of the existing 30 hours.

A statement issued by the Palakkad Division said, “It has been identified that the loco pilots’ strike in the railway divisions in Kerala is a plot masterminded by a few retired loco pilots of these divisions to disrupt the system of train operations by instigating working pilots, especially loco pilots who are not aware of the working rules in Railways.”

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‘Adds a layer of complexity’

It further said the involvement of the “retired personnel adds a layer of complexity” to the ongoing situation.

The Railways claimed that loco pilots in the Palakkad division clock only 80 percent of the stipulated working hours compared to those in various depots of adjacent South Western and South Central railways or the Chennai division of Southern Railway.

“In India, no similar strikes have been reported elsewhere except in the Palakkad division, which shows that the strike has been influenced by the vested interests of a small group of individuals,” it added.

It also pointed out that the union was ‘unrecognised’.

“Palakkad division cannot show any leniency to the unlawful behaviour of absenting from duty on completion of rest and demands that are against the approved labour laws, as these activities will systematically disrupt the crew rosters and pave the way for more inefficiency and further reduce the already less working hours.”

According to Southern Railway, a total of 46 goods train services have been affected because loco pilots have started joining late for duty from 2 June, on completion of rest.

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