For the past week, Delhi Metro staff members have been wearing a black armband over their yellow and khaki uniform, and sitting in groups on station platforms. They are now threatening to go on a hunger strike from Thursday, which could affect Metro services.
“The management has called our representatives for a meeting on Wednesday at 3 pm. If our demands are not met, then we will go on a hunger strike on Thursday,” staff council secretary Anil Mahato said.
The demands include better pay for the non-executive staff as well as modification of service conditions. A letter issued by staff members also mentions implementation of the standard operating procedures for train operators, which would restrict working hours for train drivers to a maximum of five-and-a-half hours or 2,000 km per day.
The Metro has over 8,000 non-executive staff, which include train operators, controllers, maintenance staff, line staff, junior engineers and station staff.
Since Thursday, staff members have been picketing train platforms at Badarpur, Mundka, Shahdara, Vishwavidyalaya, Jahangirpuri, Yamuna Bank, Dwarka and Huda City Centre stations from 3 pm till midnight in groups of five to 30.
“We have been pressing our demands for several months but the management is not listening to us. If we go on a hunger strike, it will be difficult for train operators to drive without food or water, and the safety of commuters will be the responsibility of the management,” said staff council member F F Ansari.
The DMRC admitted there are issues, but spokesman Anuj Dayal said, “These are issues within the Delhi Metro family, which we will try to solve internally.”
He insisted that there was no strike in the Delhi Metro.