A protest for their demands will be organized by Indian Railways workers between 15-19 June under the banner of the All India Loco Running Staff Association. During this five-day protest, they will perform their duties while wearing black bands and demonstrations will also be held at loco lobbies. On 19 June, a charter of demands will be given to the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) in a protest in front of the office.
The demands of the All India Loco Running Staff Association are:
- Halt anti-worker amendments to labour laws
- Scrap the stay order on increasing dearness allowance
- Running allowance for spare days should be included in monthly salary during lockdown
- Leave allowance should be given to running staff stranded during return
- Protection measures against COVID-19 should be ensured at railway workstations, in loco cabs and in running rooms as per WHO and Government of India guidelines.
|New Delhi Lobby||Ratlam Lobby|
|Saharanpur Lobby||Ghaziyabad Lobby|
A day after BEST bus services were resumed in Mumbai after the lockdown, bus drivers, conductors and other service staff of BEST have threatened to go on a month long strike. BEST began services from Panvel, Virar and Badlapur to Mumbai on June 8.
The BEST workers are protesting against the utterly hazardous conditions in which they have to work and the hazards to commuters. As soon as the bus services began, large numbers of people came out to use the public bus services to go to work, making it impossible to observe any of the precautions prescribed as necessary to avoid Covid-19 transmission.
Nearly 2,300 BEST buses were deployed on the second day after the services began, but this was totally inadequate to meet the huge demand from commuters across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The BEST management had to quickly deploy inspectors at many of the bus stops to ensure ‘counting of passengers’ before they boarded the bus. The BEST Workers’ union has claimed that in spite of this, it has been impossible to main distance between people travelling in the buses. Alarmed by the overcrowding and the risk of infection to bus drivers and conductors, the BEST Workers’ union announced on June 9 that they will launch a month-long protest against the management’s failure to look after the safety of the workers.
While the BEST management has claimed that the nearly 5 lakh commuters and workers, who used the bus service on the first day after resumption of service, had “adequate protection” and “social distancing was maintained”, the BEST Workers’ union has challenged this claim.
The BEST workers have announced that they will be protesting outside at least one of the main bus depots every day. They will protest peacefully with placards, without disrupting the bus services, to allow for smooth functioning of offices in Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Drivers and conductors on duty on a particular day will not participate in the protest. The protests will be at the bus depots mainly during the morning peak hours 8:00 A.M.-10:30 A.M. during which time the precautions are most likely to be flouted.
The BEST workers are demanding that the management make public the details about the deaths of 54 BEST workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, at least 8 of whom are reported to be confirmed Covid cases. They are demanding 20-bed facilities for quarantining staff. They are demanding two temporary hospitals at the Wadala and Dindoshi training centres for recovery of the staff members, nearly 390 of whom have been reported as tested positive so far. Empathizing with the commuters who face risk of infection, they have pointed out that people are compelled to board over-crowded buses to reach their work places on time every day, failing which they risk losing their jobs.