Delhi Metro’s non-executive staff, including train operators and maintenance workers, today launched a protest demanding a pay hike. The protesting staff, wearing black bands, gathered at stations across Delhi-NCR and raised slogans against the management in between their work shifts, staff council secretary Anil Kumar Mahato, who is leading the protests, said. There was no large-scale disruption in services. The protesting staffers also highlighted alleged financial irregularities in the organisation. Mahato has threatened to escalate the agitation and enforce a “total shutdown” of metro operations on July 24 if the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) does not pay heed to their “long pending” demands, including cancellation of action initiated against him and his colleague Ravi Bhardwaj. The DMRC management had called staff council members for a meeting last evening, but they did not turn up and demanded that instead the authorities should approach them. Non-executive staff include train operators, maintenance staff, station controllers, customer relation assistants, Mahato said, adding that around 9,000 staff are participating in the ongoing agitation. “The demand for a pay raise, which we have been raising since 2015, is about bringing parity between the executive and non-executive staff. Moreover, we have been told that we will have to bear the cost of a tribunal’s penalty on DMRC related to the Airport Express Line,” he said. The demonstrations were held at stations including Dwarka, Badarpur, Yamuna Bank, Jahangirpuri, Vishwavidyalaya, Qutub Minar, Shahdara.
In an internal communication to its employees, the metro’s Human Resources division said talks on upgraded pay- scales have been held several times, including as recently as March and May. “…it was intimated that the third pay commission recommendations for PSUs are likely to be received shortly and only after that the pay scale related issues can be taken up. This position still holds good,” it said. The DMRC management maintained that the actual trigger behind agitation was action against some employees for “serious violation” of contract rules. The issues raised by the agitating staff was an attempt to “push their personal agenda to cause disruption”, it said.
“The management is alive to its responsibility towards staff welfare. All concerned employees are requested to stay away from the path of agitation and not to fall for rumours and issues of alleged injustices,” the communication said.