In the month of October 1973 (15th to19th) a resolution was passed in the Annual General Council meeting of the All India Railwaymen’s Federation held at Secunderabad under the chairmanship of Com Peter Alvares, giving up all hopes of a solution on the Government’s promises and policies and decided to go on strike. Com. George Fernandez was elected President replacing Com. Peter Alvaris.
In order to fulfill the following demands, it was decided that the strike process should commence on February 27, 1974 from 6.00 p.m.
1 Payment of bonus to all railway employees,
2 Abolition of casual labor system,
- D.A. 4 points increase on six months basis,
- 5 lakh railway casual. Labor de-casualization,
- Introduction of food grains stores for railway staff,
- Pending job evaluation and redeployment and upgradation and job evaluation,
- Railway staff should be given minimum wages.
9.Payment of salaries at par in other public sector organizations and allied industries As per the Annual Conference Resolution, AIRF held category wise meetings at various places on the Railways and thereafter, a meeting of AIRF Executive Committee and General Council was held at Nagpur on 6-9-1974 under the chairmanship of AIRF President Com. George Fernandes to review the situation and consider further steps. The General Council took into account the suggestions made by various Associations affiliated to various Central Trade Union organizations and category-wise unions, while deciding to change the strike date and build a United common platform of Railway employees of All Organisations except NFIR (who refused to join) to initiate strike action. Accordingly, the AIRF organized a National Railwaymen’s Conference at New Delhi on 27 February 1974. AIRF which was attended by Railway unions affiliated to HMS, AITUC, CITU, AIREC and BMS participated. The Ministry of Railways was asked to hold open discussions on the demands and reach an agreement by 10 April 1974. Following the adopted resolution, the conference constituted an organization called National Coordination Committee for Railwaymen’s Struggle (NCCRS) to organize and conduct the struggle on behalf of all railway employees in the country and also set up an Action Committee. In the first meeting of NCCRS, Mr. George Fernandes was elected as the convener on 28th February, 1974.
In the absence of any response from the Govt.
The NCCRS was left with no option but to call the railway staff to go on an indefinite strike and decided to start the strike on the six-point charter from May 8, 1974. It was also decided that a team of 13 representatives, two from each union, would hold talks with the Ministry of RAILWAYS led by Com. GEORGE FERNANDEZ .
However, the Railway Board also invited NFIR, which was not part of the strike notice, for talks.
Shri L.N. Mishra, the Railway Minister wanted to speak on 1 May 1974 and sign all agreed item in the talks held till that date but Com George Fernandes went to Lucknow to address the May Day rally, so meeting postponed to 2nd May. The Delhi Police went with an arrest warrant, and arrested Com. George Fernandez on midnight on 1st May after his address of May day function at Lucknow and took him into custody and brought him to Tihar Jail in Delhi on May 2. 1974 in a Border Security Force plane.
Similar warrants have been issued in other parts of the country on May 2, 1974, and thousands of leaders of various ranks of AIRF, HMS AITUC, CITU, AIREC AND BMS were arrested, which resulted in the start of STRIKE in various areas from May 2, 1974 Itself. More than one million railway employees participated in the strike, which resulted all over India. 50,000 arrests under MISA, DIR and various other laws like Indian Penal Code, were executed by Mrs Indira Gandhi Congress Govt taking help of NFIR leaders to identify rank and file of AIRF Leaders.
Under Rule 14(ii) of the Railway Employees (D&A) Rules, 1968, used and orders issued removing thousands of Rly Employees and layoff orders were issued and all striking railway employees, strikers were served notices of suspension of service and families of All Rly Employees were forcibly removed from railway quarters.
Repressive measures adopted on families of Rly Employees so that the families of Rly EMPLOYEES Will force the strikers to go to Duty.
However the striking Employees put up a brave fight except some employees were scrambling to go to work on the orders of NFIR leaders and as a result of this situation the mood of the employees changing to some extent. , The strike was called off on May 28, 1974 in the interests of both the workers and the country in view of repressive measures on families by Mrs Gandhi Govt. And NFIR backstabe on Strike
For the past three weeks, the striking workers have suffered a lot due to the government’s complete obstinacy and false cases.
Four esteemed Comrades namely Com Malgi, Com. Sripal Diwadi, Com. Bhanwaria, of AIRF and Com . Ramaswami OF CITU were killed during the 1974 historic strike .We Pay our Homage to the departed brave soldiers and RED SALUTE.
10,329 permanent employees were laid off due to the strike
5,630 temporary workers dismissed from service
5.30 lakh employees were ordered break in service losing their service benefits
Many of the gains from the 1974 strike came after the 1977 Janata government was formed after lifting of Emergency and Janata party which was formed on advice of Loknaik Jayaorakash Narayan came to power defeating Congress.
Prof. MADHU DANDWATE who became Rly Minister announced in his Historical budget speech on 28-3-1977 in Parliament that All Railway Employees who dismissed /Removed/Suspended in 1974 strike will be reinstated and All victimisation orders will be withdrawn and Court cases will also be withdrawn. Accordingly Rly Bd issued Orders even forpayment of wages for strike period treating strike period as duty. ALL CASUAL LABOUR BROUGHT BACK to work.
The railway workers were able to achieve several demands based on their struggle, including the PLB in 1979 after fall of Sree Morarji Desai Govt after another strike Call by AIRF. The demand conceded by Prime Minister Chowdary Charan Singh after discussion with Com. Umraomal Purohit and Com. J. P. Choubey president and General Secretary AIRF extensively duly signing agreement on Productive Linked BONUS.