RAILWAYS TO TRAIN CONTRACT EMPLOYEES
The railway board has decided to impart training to contractual supervisors and labourers at divisional training institutes with a view to build expertise, improve quality of work, effectiveness and safety consciousness among the contract workers. So far, the railways has been providing training only for its regular employees.
In a letter dated September 27 addressed to all zonal general managers of Indian Railways, executive director, signalling and telecommunications, transformation cell stated that training can be imparted to contractual supervisors and labourers at divisional training institutes through a non-residential and short duration course.
Divisional railway authorities are empowered to decide the fees to be charged for training on a marginal cost basis for such training at any of the divisional and zonal training centres across Southern Railway.
Zonal railways may also design the course content to ensure safety and quality of work before beginning such training. Necessary certificate may be issued as a token of imparting successful training, the circular stated.
Meanwhile, unions criticised the board’s decision stating that railways does not maintain a proper registry of contract labourers enrolled.
“More than 20,000 contract labourers are working in various departments in Southern Railway alone. All of them are being exploited by contractors. They have never been paid minimum wages properly as derived by the Union government,” state president of the All India Railway Contract Labour Union (AIRCLU), D Manoharan said.
“A number of disputes are pending in railways with regard to wage settlement. Moreover, contract labourers are not working in one particular place or section and also with one contractor. We have been demanding 20% quota in railway recruitment for eligible candidates. However, all the demands are yet to be fulfilled. Instead of imparting training to them, railways should first ensure their wage distribution,” he added.