Railway workers stop trains against non-payment of salaries

Published October 25, 2023
Employees listen to fellow workers during a protest at the Rawalpindi Railway Station on Tuesday. — Online
Employees listen to fellow workers during a protest at the Rawalpindi Railway Station on Tuesday. — Online

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Railway workers on Tuesday stopped trains from going to different parts of the country from Rawalpindi for over two hours in protest against non-payment of salaries for two months.

The trains stopped at the Rawalpindi Railway Station included Rehman Baba Express, Hazara Express, Kohat Express and Green Line Express. As a result, thousands of passengers remained stuck and faced hardship.

The protest was led by Carriage and Wagon Staff Association of Pakistan Railways office-bearers and leaders of Labour Alliance, including Shaukat Ali Awan, Dr Babar Khan Qadri, Raja Khalid, Waseem Shah and Shaukat Khan Jadoon.

Speaking on the occasion, they said the workers were facing poverty and unable to meet their kitchen expenses. They said it had become impossible for the workers to pay school fees, electricity, gas bills, purchase medicines and daily-use items.

Official says salaries are paid in third week of every month due to financial issues

They said during the worst inflation, non-payment of salaries for months had forced the railway workers to borrow money from friends and relatives.

If the workers are not paid their pays on time, trains will be stopped by the workers across the country, they warned.

After negotiations between the management and leaders of the workers, the protest was called off. The management promised to pay the salaries within two days.

When contacted, Pakistan Railways Divisional Superintendent Inamullah said the salaries had been delayed, but it was not true that the workers had not been paid for two months.

He said Pakistan Railways paid salaries in the third week of every month due to financial issues. He said not only the labourers but salaries of all railway employees were also delayed.

He said the basic reason behind the protest was a demand by the railway workers that their salaries should be paid through the federal government like other government employees.

Mr Inamullah said as an organisation, Pakistan Railways earned money from its train operation and paid salaries to workers as it had been done since 1947.

He said the financial issues would be resolved soon and the workers would get salaries on time. Resentments of the workers have been communicated to the higher authorities of the railways and the government, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2023

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