Rail staff threaten to go on strike

New Delhi, Jan. 16 -- Upset with the government's efforts to privatise assets and disinvest PSUs, the Railways unions have threatened to go on strike. "The UPA government doesn't seem least interested in reviving the financial health of the Railways, as it seems only too willing to sell it out to private parties. We will never allow them to succeed," All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) leader Shiva Gopal Mishra reportedly told rail minister Pawan Kumar Bansal at a meeting on January 9.

The union represents approximately 13 lakh of the total 14 lakh rail employees.

Railway employees had last gone on a strike in 1974 during late Lalit Narain Mishra's tenure as the railways minister -with the strike lasting 28 days. At the time, as many as 56,000 employees were removed and 4, 96,000 employees suffered a 'break-in-service'.

Reports in past months have suggested that the Railways are willing to sell-off 10% shares of profit-making PSUs, including IRCON and RITES. The Siemens have also been interested in entering into a joint venture with the state-owned Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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