MYSURU: Due to outsourcing of unskilled workers by contractors, many train accidents are being reported in recent times. Hence, the government should stop outsourcing and focus on recruiting permanent employees. Besides averting accidents, this will also save precious lives, said Shiva Gopal Mishra, general secretary of All India Railwaymen’s Federation.

Speaking to TOI on the sidelines of the South Western Railway Mazdoor Union’s 11th annual general council (AGC) which began at Mysore Medical College alumni hall here on Monday, Mishra said: “The national council meeting, which should be held thrice a year, has not been convened by the government in the last five-and-a-half-years.

“In spite of repeated representations, the government has failed to take any measure in this regard. Before coming to power, the NDA government had promised a lot of labour welfare schemes. But in reality, it is coming out with various anti-labour policies. It should immediately take measures to fill up all vacant posts. There are nearly 2.50 lakh vacant posts in the railways. Instead of outsourcing, which is posing risk to commuters, the railways should recruit permanent staff at the earliest. Our major demand is scrapping the new pension scheme, removing bonus ceiling and not considering privatization, PPP or FDI in the railways and defence and non-corporatization of postal services. We also came to know that to privatize some of the sectors in the railways, the PM’s office has formed a committee. We will intensify our protest if they privatize the railways,” he said.

“Since 1976, our approach has always been professional in nature. But if the government fails to meet our demands at the earliest, we will stage an indefinite protest from November 23. If we protest, the government will incur huge losses as the whole country will be paralyzed and the country’s economy will be disturbed. So the central government must attend to employees’ problems,” Mishra added.

SWRMU general secretary A M D Cruz said: “The central government has been anti-labour, especially against the railways. The railways will suffer if FDI is implemented. So the government should not encourage FDI in the interest of people.”