Mumbai local train motormen call off strike
Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) After four hours of a flash strike, motormen (drivers) of Mumbai suburban trains called off their agitation here Friday evening after railway officials assured them that their demands would be met.
Suburban services on Mumbai's Western Railway line took a hit Friday as over 100 motormen - as drivers of these trains are called - went on a flash strike by taking mass sick leave to press for better facilities and security, an official said.
The striking motormen had demanded appointment of assistant motormen so that they do not have to work overtime. They also demanded better security and a regular weekly off apart from a pay structure at par with the Sixth Pay Commission.
"Due to the sudden agitation by a section of motormen on some internal issues/demands, Western Railway (WR) local services were affected from about 3:30 p.m. After conducting regular negotiations with them, the strike was called off and the services were normalised by 7:30 p.m.," a Western Railway official said.
Meanwhile, on the WR's request, 105 extra city buses were deployed from Churchgate, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri and Borivali, while 25 extra buses were run by the state transport department between Borivali and Virar.
"As many as 50 services had to be cancelled due to the agitation, while some extra services were run out of schedule soon after agitation was called off," the official said.
During the strike, the main suburban railway station of Churchgate in south Mumbai saw unprecedented crowds as people started gathering owing to lack of train services - which usually run one every five minutes.
Most main roads also saw huge traffic, with buses packed to the rafters as commuters resorted to other means to reach home.
The strike started only a couple of hours before the peak travelling time that starts around 6 p.m. as commuters start for home after work hours.
Most local railway stations, however, were alerting commuters with announcements on the public address system that the trains were either running late or had been cancelled.
Mumbai's Western Railway line caters to over 35 lakh people every day. However, there are only 500 motormen who work long hours to keep the service going.
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