Railway unions stage protest against privatisation move

Members of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) and Dakshin Railway Employees Union (DREU) on Monday staged separate protests here against the Centre for its proposals to privatise public sector units.

SRMU divisional secretary J.M. Rafi said the Centre was proposing to abolish seven lakh posts in railways by 2023 by privatising express and goods trains and railway workshops. Instead of an average annual expenditure of ₹10,283 towards medical expenses for treatment given to railway employees, pensioners and their family members through railway hospitals, the Centre was wasting public money to the tune of ₹28,000 in the guise of medical insurance premium.

The union also wanted the government to give up its proposal to provide compulsory retirement for employees aged 55 years or 30 years of service.

At the protest organised by DREU, its divisional secretary R. Sankaranarayanan demanded that passenger trains should be operated on Madurai-Rameswaram and Madurai-Shencottah sections. Besides, unreserved coaches should be attached to express trains.

The concessions that were earlier given to women, differently abled persons and senior citizens should be restored. The new pension scheme should be abolished, dearness allowance that was frozen should be restored and night duty allowance given to all cadres of officers.

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