Kolkata: All India Railway Workers' Organisation has threatened to stage an indefinite rail strike across the country early next year if the New Pension Scheme (NPS) is not withdrawn with immediate effect.
The apex national organisation of railway workers said it is considering launching a strike like the 20-day All India Rail Strike which brought rail services to a standstill in 1974.
General Secretary of Eastern Railway Men's Union Amit Ghosh said that rail workers have been pressing for a slew of demands for a long time. According to Ghosh, the central government was informed several times about their demands but no step was taken to alleviate their grievance.
"Now, I think we will have to go for the strike. Still, before taking a final decision, a letter will be sent to the central government 45 days before the proposed day of the strike. If no positive response is received from the central government within the period, then we'll go ahead with the strike," he said.
Incidentally, along with the demand for withdrawing the new pension scheme and introducing the old scheme, the railway workers' union has been fighting for a long time to oppose the privatisation of the railways, the appointment of trained persons in various vacancies, the cancellation of the labour code, the introduction of the recruitment process for the vacant posts of the railways, the appointment of permanent staff instead of contract workers.
N Kanhaiya, the working president of the all-India organisation, did not answer the phone when contacted. During the 1974 strike, known as the biggest railway strike in the country, rail services were halted for 20 days. Then Indira Gandhi-led government had to intervene and meet the demand of workers to stop the strike. Before that, the first strike was called in Indian Railways in July 1960.