Around 35,000 station masters across the railway network will work on empty stomach on Saturday to protest the sealing in their night duty allowance. The All India Station Masters Union (AISMU) had said on Thursday they have been protesting the move from October 7 and the decision to organise a token hunger strike was taken after their demands remained unattended.
They demanded that the government withdraw an order which stated that all officials above the basic pay of Rs 43,600 per month were not to be paid night duty allowance. “We demand that the sealing of the allowance and the orders to recover the night duty allowance already made since 2017 be withdrawn, a Rs 50 lakh insurance be provided to the line staff and the privatisation and corporatisation of railways be stopped. We will hold a 12-hour hunger strike, which will be the fourth phase of our protest,” AISMU said in a statement.
The railway ministry has said that as per Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) instructions in July 2020, all officials who have the basic pay of above Rs 43,600 are not to be paid the night duty allowance. “The directives have already been implemented in other ministries. Implementation of the directives of DoPT is in line with the implementation all across the government. Nothing exclusive is being implemented for Railways. In government, all employees are treated on par across the board on the basis of the basic salary. As far as the issue of recovery of the Night Duty Allowance, the matter is being examined,” a railway spokesperson said according to news agency PTI.
The All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) in an official note to the chairman and CEO of the Railway Board had earlier sought withdrawal of upper pay ceiling for entitlement of Night Duty Allowance (NDA). Night Duty Allowance is claimed by the Essential Train Running, Operating and Maintenance Staff for performing night duty, work of whom revolves around train operation, safety, maintenance etc under 7th Pay Commission. AIRF said the upper ceiling of Rs 43,600 for entitlement of night duty allowance by the railway staff be removed immediately.
(With inputs from PTI)
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