On 2nd December 2019, All India Trackmaintainers’ Union (AIRTU) held its divisional meeting at Junagarh, Gujarat. The meeting was addressed by AIRTU leaders and Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) representatives. The station was reverberating with militant slogans of Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad and Mahila Shakti Zindabad.
The Divisional Secretary of AIRTU – Vinod Meena and the National President of AIRTU – Narendra Panchal addressed the meeting. They highlighted the severe and harsh working conditions of track maintainers and said that it is because of their union that they were able to reduce their extreme exploitation and oppression; the union has fought and succeeded in getting the Railways to provide some safety equipment, like shoes and hooters that warn track maintainers of approaching trains. Through their struggle, the workers had also won some rights like leave for childcare.
Both the speakers condemned the privatisation drive of the government and committed the militant participation of their union in the All India General Strike on 8th January 2020.
The representative of KEC also addressed the meeting. He exposed the Government’s dangerous plan of privatization and condemned it. He explained how the government is moving ahead with privatisation of one public asset after another such as BSNL, BPCL and Air India. In the case of BPCL it is privatizing a highly profitable public sector company and in the case of BSNL and Air India it first made these companies sick and then wants to hand it over to capitalists at throw away prices.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar supports the struggles of the track maintainers of Indian Railways against their deteriorating working conditions and against privatization of railways.