The Bangladesh Railway Running Staff and Workers’ Association has given an ultimatum to stop train services from 12 noon if the salaries and allowances are not paid by January 10.
This information has been given in a press release signed by the president and general secretary of the association on Sunday (January 9) night.
Among the running staff of the railways, especially the locomoters and assistant locomasters (train operators) of all branches of the Western Railway, have given an ultimatum to stop the train operation by standing on the hard line for speedy implementation of the demand.
On January 8, the running staff of the railways submitted a written request to the Pakshi Divisional Mechanical Engineer (LOCO) of the Western Railway to pay the salaries and allowances for the month of December 2021 by January 10.
According to the application, some of the running staff of Lalmonirhat division were not provided house rent along with the regular salary bill of November. They are upset and panicked as the salaries of the running staff of Pakshi department have not been approved yet on the pretext of budget inadequacy. In this case, if the mileage earned and all the allowances due as per the rules of installation code and running seed manual are not paid in the December salary bill by January 10, the train will stop running.
In a written statement, the running staff also said that by modernizing the pay system, salaries are being paid through banks instead of pay offices from July 2020. The purpose was to get the railway employees paid on the 1st of every month. But now the locomasters are admitting embarrassment as they are not getting their salaries on time. The train driver and his assistants said that if the train stopped running, the responsibility would have to be borne by the concerned authorities.
Mojibur Rahman, general secretary of Bangladesh Railway Running Staff and Employees Association, told Samay Sangbad that if the workers do not pay their dues, the train service will be stopped from 12 noon. This will cut off the western rail communication with the rest of the country. They have been informing the railway administration about this for a long time but they have taken such a decision as there is no solution.
Rabiul Islam, joint secretary of the same organization, said train drivers, guards and ticket checkers would not touch any train entering the west from midnight on Monday. Train service will be stopped from 12 o’clock at night. They have fallen into inhuman life due to salary arrears.
When contacted, senior railway officials said discussions were being held with the running staff. They hope the problem will be solved soon. However, due to lack of budget, it is not possible to provide house rent and other facilities in time in the western region, said the railway officials.