LAHORE: Passengers travelling by major express trains were stranded at the City railway station for hours after workers of the railways Loco Shed went on strike in protest against non-payment of their salaries.
The worst affected were passengers of the Tezgam, Jaffer Express, Karachi Express and the Karakorum Express besides the Rawalpindi-bound railcar.
Officials manning the inquiry desk at the railway station were also unable to give them a definite departure time.
Passengers held a protest at the station against the authorities and chanted slogans against the Railways minister.
Azhar Hussain, a passenger who was trying to catch a Rawalpindi-bound train, told The Express Tribune that in the dispute between the Railways authorities and workers, the passengers were suffering. “I had reserved my seat in advance to save time and to avoid any inconvenience but now I have no option but to wait until the end of the strike,” he said.
Loco Shed workers usually get their salaries on the 15th of every month. Since November 14 was a Sunday, the salaries could not be transferred to the employees’ accounts.
Zahid Bilal, one of the protesting workers, said, “I have served in railways for 12 years. It is sad that the authorities have not paid us our salaries in time for Eid.” He said that most of the officers get their salaries on the first day of every month but the workers had to wait for more than two weeks every month. Railways Lahore division, additional general manager (Traffic), chief commercial manager and an officer of the Finance wing held negotiations with the protesters who ended their strike after assurances that they would get salaries by noon Tuesday. The staff resumed their duties after five hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2010.
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