The South Western Railway Mazdoor Union – Bangalore Division is a part of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation, which is the largest Trade Union in Indian Railways.
By Praveena P.
Bangalore, March 7, 2019.
The South Western Railway Mazdoor Union (SWRMU) – Bangalore Division is planning to protest against the Indian government with various demands on March 13. There was a demonstration for that protest today at the DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) Office.
BankBazaar.com states that a Pay Commission is a move brought in by the Indian government to makes changes in the salary structure of government employees. The Seventh Pay Commission was supposed to be implemented in all states of India in January 2016 but wasn’t due to certain delays. It was meant to ensure that there was an increase in allowances, salaries and other benefits for government employees.
Rajasthan, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, and Bihar are some of the states that have already hiked their Dearness Allowance (DA) and Dearness Relief (DR) from nine per cent to 12 per cent. The Centre has revised the hike in DA and DR thrice already, but trade unions expect better execution of these schemes, and SWRMU is one of them.
K.V. Raghavendra, Divisional Secretary, SWRMU said, “Under the Seventh Pay Commission, we are planning to demand a minimum wage of Rs. 26,000 per month. The current salary is Rs. 18,000. It is illogical and not possible to run a family with this salary. There are so many things to consider like education for children, basic needs, and maintenance. Cost of living has also increased due to inflation.”
The second demand is related to the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Raghavendra said, “Under the NPS, the government employees have to pay 10 per cent of their salaries to the government every month. It is a self-contributory pension scheme which enables the government as well as the people who subscribe for pensions to contribute.”
He claims that the part of their salaries which is paid to the government goes into an investment on shares in private establishments. He said that they didn’t want to lose their money like that.
Balaraj, a Railways employee, said, “We want the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) back. The OPS did not take a chunk out of our salaries and invest it in private shares. The government funded our pensions entirely and returns were guaranteed for government employees. But under the NPS, we have to pay for a part of our own pension money.”
The third demand is related to the employment vacancies in the Indian Railways. Balaraj explained that the number of vacancies for available posts in the Railways is not being filled up. He claimed that it was because the government didn’t want to spend more on allotment of salaries than it already does because it spends a lot as it is on payment of retirement pensions and farm loan waivers.
He stated that government jobs are preferred mainly because there are assured salaries, pensions, and other benefits. “If these assurances are not carried out, what’s the point in taking up a government job?” he asked.
These demands will be put forth amidst the presence of other people during the protest on March 13.