In a protest against the stopping the night duty allowance, station masters will work on empty stomach on Saturday. Around 35,000 station masters across the railway network will join the protest. 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.
The railways had issued an order which states that all officials above the basic pay of Rs 43,600 per month were not to be paid night duty allowance. The Railway Ministry said that as per DoPT instructions in July 2020, all officials above the basic pay of Rs 43,600 are not to be paid the night duty allowance. It added “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,”
“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demand that the sealing of the allowance and the orders to recover the night duty allowance already made since 2017 be withdrawn, a Rs 50 lakh insurance be provided to the line staff and the privatisation and corporatisation of railways be stopped.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 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.
Night Duty Allowance (NDA) is granted to certain specified categories of employees for performance of duty between 10 pm and 6 am. Presently, each hour of night work earns extra ten minutes of daily work. There are demands to grant Night Duty Allowance between 6 pm and 6 am and for doubling of rates by equating each hour of night work to extra twenty minutes of daily work.
This allowance was dealt extensively by Justice NM Miabhoy (Retd. Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court) Tribunal, which is also known as Railway Labour Tribunal, 1969 and the present dispensation is based on the recommendation of the said Tribunal.