Railway workers ‘Struggle Action Week’ from Oct 7 to 13, 2012
Karachi (Daily TheNews / Monday, October 8, 2012) – International Transport Workers’ Federation, a representative body of the railways’ workers in 156 countries has announced to observe ‘Struggle Action Week’ from October 7 to October 13 in Pakistan to bring out the joint declaration of all railways’ unions in Pakistan against privatisation and anti-workers policies.
The Railway Workers Union (RWU) which is the member of the international federation has announced to stage protest demonstration in all major cities, stations and railways’ divisions on October 11 against the current plight of the railways.
These views were expressed by the office-bearers of the RWU including Manzoor Razi, Naseem Rao and Junaid Awan during a press conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Sunday.
They said that they believed that corruption, administrative incompetence, lack of accountability, contract system and measures to privatise the railways were the main causes of the destruction of the railways.
They said that in comparison with the 70’s decade the locomotives strength had decreased by 39 percent, the number of passengers’ coaches decreased by eight percent, railways’ station number decreased by 38 percent, passengers’ strength decreased by 48 percent, freight service decreased by 70 percent and expenses had been increased by 169 percent in comparison with the income resources of the corporation.
The office-bearers of the union said that the workers strength was decreased at 95,000 from 135,000 in 2001 which was currently just 78,000.
They said that the new departments were made and the number of officers’ cadres’ employees had been made double by enhancing the operational sphere of Pakistan Railways’ Advisory and Consultation Service (PRACS). According to them the administrative expenses had been increased by 16 percent from the previous eight percent. These expenses count to Rs4 billion per anum, they said.
They said that the officers’ strength had been swelled by 464 percent and the police strength had been increased by 220 percent at the railways’ headquarter.
On the other hand, they said, instead of enhancing the railways’ tracks they had been shrunk by nine percent.
They said that the RWU on December 24, 2009 had proposed 142 points to the railways’ management to make it a profitable organisation. They said that no huge financial resources were required to fulfil these points and financial recession within the corporation could be controlled by acting upon them.
However, they said, no attention was paid toward these proposals of the union.
They said that the PRACS was currently running 22 reservation offices, six dining cars and four trains. Moreover, under the public-private partnership the Shalimar Express, Business Train, luggage and dry ports, power generation plants had been handed over to the contractors whereas the operations of local trains from Lahore to Narowal and from Lahore to Rawalpindi had been handed over to the contractors as well. They said that corruption and travelling without tickets on these trains was a common phenomenon nowadays.
They said that there was a ban on formation of union in the railways since 1993 and the last referendum in the corporation was held in 1981. They said that there was no Combined Bargaining Agent (CBA) in the corporation for the last 32 years.
They demanded to put an end to the privatisation of trains, selling of railways’ lands and downsizing. They also demanded of the government to release the approved funds for the railways besides importing 100 engines from India and 150 engines from America to improve the performance of the railways.