Railway employees protest delay in payment of bonus

New Delhi: Thousands of railway employees staged protests across the country on Tuesday against the “inordinate delay” in payment of productivity-linked bonus, defying warning of stringent action by the Railway Board, according to the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF).

The AIRF has said if the bonus is not released immediately, they will be compelled to intensify their protest and take “direct action”.

“Today all affiliated unions of AIRF have launched various agitational programmes all over the country to strongly protest the inordinate delay in payment of PLB (productivity-linked bonus) to railwaymen and condemned the government for this delay,” AIRF general secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said in a statement.

“Despite a warning letter issued by the Railway Board yesterday, more than 8 lakh railway employees took part in these agitational programmes across the length and breadth of the country,” he said.

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The bonus to be paid now pertains to 2019-20 when there was no coronavirus pandemic and the Indian Railways earned profit.

This is the reason the Ministry of Railways has already recommended payment of the bonus to all railway employees to the Finance Ministry in the first week of October, he said.

The bonus is usually paid a week before Durga Puja/Dussehra for the past four decades.

“Why the inordinate delay this year? On the one hand the Prime Minister and the Railway Minister have applauded the performance of the railwaymen and on the other there is an indifferent attitude on payment of PLB to them,” he said.

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Mishra said that during the COVID-19 Pandemic, more than 180 railway employees sacrificed their lives to keep the wheels of the Indian Railways moving round-the-clock for ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential commodities in different parts of the country.

“I hope that, keeping in view deep sense of frustration and resentment brewing among the railwaymen and other central government employees, the government shall make its (PLB) announcement immediately, else employees shall be compelled for direct action,” he said.

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