While urging the Railway Board to minimise long working hours, loco pilots of Indian Railways recently stated that long duty hours, as well as continuous night shifts without any rest, stress them out and also pose a threat to the safety of Indian Railways passengers. According to a TOI report, while addressing the south zone general body meeting of AILRSA (All India Loco Running Staff Association), functionaries of the association claimed that they were forced to operate in toilet-less loco cabs for a minimum of 12 hours and that too without any rest, despite the advent of scientific and technological advancement in Indian Railways.
According to the speakers, quoted in the report, since the loco staff are important members of the national transporter, the job requires alertness and focus from them. Their job is considered as a highly strained one as they have to manage the movement of trains between stations. The Railway Board, despite several reminders, has not taken enough steps to lessen the burden of loco running staff, they said. They further claimed that all the loco staff are made to work for more than a duration of 12 hours at a stretch and also night duties are assigned to them for 6 continuous days.
They also said that this practice should end and maximum working hours should be limited to 6 hours as well as night duties should not be assigned on a continuous basis as driving a locomotive needs high-level of concentration. The loco pilots further added that long working hours can cause stress, which may lead to human error and can be a threat to the safety of passengers.
According to the news report, in the year 1980, various resolutions, including the expedition of traveling allowance for loco staff as per the norm were formulated in order to ensure parity in providing pension as well as weekly rest for loco running staff in Indian Railways.