Challenges Ahead

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This region faces many challenges.

  • How can Asian megacities provide public services, especially urban transport systems?
  • How can we stimulate patterns of union membership growth and end decline?
  • How do we confront the negative effects of transport privatisation and outsourcing, and challenge precarious work?

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Problems being faced by the Road Transport Workers in India.


I am umesh, Additional General Secretary of Indian National Transport Workers Federation. I am nominated as Lead Delegate for the 43 ITF world congress.
At present in our country the workers of road transport industry both in organized & un organized sector are facing lot of problems. There in no national transport policy. the wages of the workers working in organized sector in different states of India are also different. The govt. also stop the capital subsidy for the public transport.Most of the employees are working continuesy for more than 8 hours and are also not getting there weekly off in time. In unorganised sector there is no wage board. The owner of the private transport vehicle never issue appointment letter to there workers. The cost of medicines and education is increasing day by day. Transport worker are getting less wage which effect the education of the children of road transport workers. There is a need of National transport Policy. The rate of accident is also very high.
For example.
In one case a bus driver/conductor start his duty from Leh ( Jammu& Kashmir) where temperature is 15 C and one the way he passes four tops of about 14000 to 18ooo feet hight and reach Delhi next day where temperature is 45 C. For this type of job he is getting just ten thousad rupees monthly. Our union is still fighting for the better living condition and proper education of the road transport workers.


Urban Transport System - Public Services & Union Membership

Land acquisition and Finances are the major challenges being faced by most of the regimes in ever growing thickly populated Asian megacities. The governments depend on World Bank or Asian Development Bank to borrow finances, but once a project is sanctioned the deadlines are to be met and this does not happen due to delay in land acquisition, change in path, various legal tangles and corruption. Sometimes the projects are delayed for years together leading to escalation in costs of material and manpower.

Providing cheap urban transport in the backdrop of such conditions becomes very difficult. The existing urban transport system has to be modernized for example in cities like Kolkata, India while the metro railway has been developed and is running since more than a decade, the age old Trams also continue and the people are not in favour of dispensing with the tramway. The ticket costs have not be raised for the metro rail since its inception due to political interference leading to losses, the operational costs are also not recovered. So the point that I am trying to drive home is that there must be an end to political interference, corruption, doing away with obsolete systems etc., for the effective development of a public transport system in Asian megacities.

The unions are facing a serious problem of declining memberships due to loss of confidence and corruption by some union leaders. The union leaders are openly sponsoring the political leaders in elections to State and Country ruling bodies, indulging in muscle power and arm twisting tactics to corner the benefits for their own self and family. Using political clout the corrupt union leaders are bagging the positions in key positions only to indulge in corruption and stash away huge sums of money. In view of the above there is a gradual decline in union memberships.

So we need to stop the corrupt union leaders from continuing in the unions and educate the workers about the activities that a union does by holding training classes and through mass contact programmes. The unions must also keep the workers updated on day to day basis about the issues resolved and issues to be resolved imbibing confidence among workers and increase the memberships.

Privatization/Outsourcing & Stop New Pension System

I am incharge, NFIR Media Centre and registered as participant reporter for 43rd ITF Congress to be held at Sofia, Bulgaria.

We are facing the serious challenge of Privatization/Outsourcing of our jobs with no vacancies being filled due to death or retirement of workers. Consequently we are facing the problem of reduction in staff. Our strength has fallen by 3,00,000 workers in last 8 years. At the same time there is no reduction in higher cadres (officers on Indian railways). Today one worker does the work of 5 persons. About 1,80,000 safety category jobs are still lying vacant leading to no proper rest to the Drivers/Guards manning the train operations. A single ticket inspector mans 5 coaches as compared to earlier 2 coaches. There is acute shortage in track maintainer category and about 800 to 900 track maintainers die every year guarding the tracks and no proper compensation is being paid. They are subjected to precarious working conditions and are exposed to extreme adverse climatic conditions, they some times even face wild animals and terrorist attacks in north eastern states of India.

The New Pension System (NPS) was introduced by Government of India from 01.01.2004 and passed by the Indian parliament in the year 2013. Due to frequent pressure and demonstrations by NFIR and affiliates the Indian Railways Board asked us to give the reasons for withdrawal of NPS. On 21.02.2014 NFIR gave a 7 page letter to Railway Board giving out the logical reasons and the letter will now be forwarded to the Government of India. The fight is not over and it continues.

We are being casualised

I am from the dockers union of Russia. Our big challenge is the threat of being casualised and outsourced. The employers are putting a lot pressure on trade union members and try to undermine our union rights. My port is in Vladivostok and there is a big reorganisation. A year ago there were several stevedoring companies, but now there is one big company which bought out the other companies. They are trying to lower the collective agreement and strip it down to the most basic elements that they are forced to accept by law.

I want to help my fellow workers

I need to get to know my union better and how to better help my fellow workers. I can get better ideas. There are many problems like workers not getting a free medical before they go to sea.