The wheel-jam strike, started on the Monday evening because of the non-payment of the salaries and the disconnection of the electricity and the gas in the residential colonies, observed by the Pakistan Railways’ employees has entered into the second day on Tuesday, October 18 here at the Lahore Railway Station. The employees unions have declared to continue the strike until the payment of salaries.
Yesterday at around 6pm, the protest was called off after the commercial officer of the Lahore Divison conveyed the message of the railway administration that a final date of the payment of the salaries would be announced until Tuesday noon. However, on tuesday morning around 8am the employees started to gather at engine shed and took over its control to stop all trains.
The president of the Pakistan Railways Employees Union (PREM) Sheikh Mohammad Anwar and the president of the Rail Mazdoor Ittehad, Sarfaraz Khan said the media that the protest would not call off until the payment of the salaries.
The protest has forced the hundreds of the passengers to wait on the platforms’ waiting areas with their families and luggage at all major railway stations across the country. The poor facilities of the Railway stations and uncertainty of the condition has strained the passenger to demand refund of their tickets.
The employees suspended all trains services throughout the country and did not allow any engine to roll out of the loco shed on Monday evening against the non-payment of the salaries. The employees, who were already protesting against the disconnection of the electricity and the gas in the residential colonies, first closed down the gates of the Loco shop and then sit down on the railway tracks at all the major stations.
At Lahore Railway Station, police personnel were deployed near the Loco Shed, who did not try to disperse the protesters and some of them in plain clothes supplied water and snacks to protesters. The employees were chanting that give money to have work and do not snatch bread from worker.
Loco Shed Workers Union’s secretary Sarfraz Khan, Mahnat Kash Union’s Baba Khaki Hussain, Mazdoor Union’s secretary general Haji Saeed, and other leaders informed the reporters that the Railway employees were not being their salaries and pensions. Also the connections of the 26 Railway colonies had but cut off but the amount was being deducted from the salary, said the leaders.
Meanwhile the President Asif Ali Zardari has urged the government to handed over the issue to Council of Common Interests (CCI) so that the Federal and the Provisional governments take measures to solve the problems.