24 Nov, 2023 09:48 AM

Railway Board forms panel to conduct polls for unions

Railway Board forms panel to conduct polls for unions

Railway trade unions here are unenthused by the committee constituted by the Railway Board (RB) to conduct secret ballot elections for recognising unions in Zonal Railways.

On November 17, the Railway Board constituted a three-member committee headed by Rajiv Kishore, a retired railway board member (AM/HR) to frame modalities to conduct the next secret ballot to recognise Railway Trade Unions.

The committee has been given 30 days to submit its report to the government. Significantly, the deadline set for the committee would overshoot the December 3 deadline set by the Delhi High Court to conduct the secret ballot elections.

R Elangovan, vice president of DREU (Dakshin Railway Employees Union) said that the deadline was an indication that the government might seek time from the court to conduct the election, which could be likely delayed up to February.

However, pressure from the trade unions, which are already threatening to go on strike, could compel the government to concede and advance the election to avoid antagonising the union government employees ahead of the Parliamentary polls.

However, the biggest stumbling could be the Industrial Relations Code. As per the 2020 code adopted in the Parliament, the existing modality insists that any union securing 51% of the votes polled would be declared as a recognised union with the authority to negotiate with the government.

In the event of no union securing 51% votes in the secret ballot, a negotiating council would be constituted with every union securing 20% of the total electorate being able to nominate a representative each.

If one union secures 40% votes of the total electorate, it would be able to nominate two representatives, and the other unions securing 20% minimum would get a member, Elangovan added. As per the earlier modality, any union securing 30% of the votes polled was declared a recognized union.

The Tamil Nadu government has only prepared a draft code and it has yet to finalise the Industrial Relations Code.

Therefore, enforcement of the new code is not easy, added the vice president of DREU which was the petitioner in the Delhi High Court case.

“If the elections drag till February, the Parliament election fever would set in and the union government would not be curious to conduct the trade union elections,” he added.

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