Loco pilots upset with Railway Board’s decision on duty hours
Having agitated for over four decades to get “just working hours and conducive working atmosphere”, the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) is unhappy even after the Railway Board finally acted on their demands.
Three years after a high-powered committee (HPC) submitted its report on duty hours of loco pilots, the board, during February first week, accepted 70 of the 89 recommendations. But the association claims the recommendations that were left out are the ones that were crucial.
The board did not accept important recommendations, made by the panel — comprised of retired officials of the Railways, with no representation from the running crew — said L. Moni, AILRSA central president. The association had in fact demanded a judicial committee to address their demands on duty hours.
He said loco pilots are subjected to inhuman working hours, insufficient rest periods, continuous night duties, un-ergonomic loco cabs that bring early fatigue, insufficient time with family, unsafe working, violations and short-cut procedures. Mr. Moni said whenever loco pilots’ agitation gains momentum, or because of judicial intervention or severe criticism from the Labour Department or public anger, the board has the habit of constituting ‘in house’ committees to avoid the backlash.
Even though the HPC had recommended just two consecutive night duties with the third one being towards the headquarters, the board was adamant and wanted four consecutive night duties, he said.
As against HPC’s recommendations of 40 hours weekly rest, the board wants to continue with the present 30 hours weekly rest. The HPC erred in continuing with the present system of calling a pilot, who is on rest, for duty before two hours, as it infringes the rest hours.
They had demanded a judicial panel to address their demands on duty hours