The members of All India Guards Council (AIGC) and All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) representing the guards and engine drivers of the Indian Railways all over India demonstrated in front of their respective Divisional Railway Manager's (DRM) office on 4th February 2018. They were protesting against a proposal of the Running Allowance Committee to reduce the pay element in the calculation of the revised mileage rate. The Running Allowance Committee is constituted by the Railway Board, which is the top decision making body of the Indian Railways. The revision of the mileage rate after the announcement of the 7th Pay Commission in July 2016 has not been announced yet although the Running Allowance Committee was constituted for this purpose. Currently the wages of running staff, which includes guards and drivers, are calculated on their basic pay + 30% additional. This is called the pay element. It was introduced in 1980 as per recommendations of the Bhalla Committee for fixing the wages of running staff. This additional pay element was introduced for the running staff to compensate them for their extremely difficult working conditions. 13 other allowances of the running staff such as mileage rate, HRA, DA, LTA, etc. are all calculated based on this formula.
The Running Allowance Committee includes representatives of AIRF and NFIR, the officially recognized representatives of the Rail workers. Now it has come to the notice of the AIGC and AILRSA that it has put forth a proposal to reduce the pay element from 30% to 24% in spite of the opposition of AIRF and NFIR! This would adversely affect the wages of the running staff. It was to warn the authorities to desist from implementing any such proposal to reduce the pay element that the AIGC and AILRSA jointly organised this demonstration all over India. The guards and engine drivers all over India under the leadership of these fighting organizations are determined to oppose any attempt at reducing the pay element or any such move which would take away rights which they had won after many years of struggle.
MEL fully supports the just demands of the Guards and Engine Drivers of the Indian Railways led by the AIGC and the AILRSA.