Mumbai train strike ends, workers report to work

Express May 05, 2010

MUMBAI: After holding the city to ransom for two days, railway motormen called off their indefinite strike following talks with the state government on Tuesday.

The strike brought gridlock to the streets of Mumbai as threequarters of commuter services were cancelled on Tuesday, a news agency AFP reported. The drivers called off the action in the early evening when the state government agreed to look into their demands but railway officials said it would take 2-3 hours to normalise the network. “The strike has been called off.

We have assured the motormens’ unions that their demands will be looked into,” the Maharashtra state home minister R R Patil told reporters in the city after a meeting with the unions. The estimated seven million commuters who use Mumbai’s overcrowded trains daily faced misery in the morning because of the strike which began late on Monday.

The rush of extra traffic quickly overwhelmed the road network. The train drivers want an additional per-kilometre allowance calculated on the distances travelled each day, extra overtime pay and a near 50 per cent rise in salaries for assistant drivers. Assistant drivers are currently paid 1,900 rupees (41 dollars) per month.

These demands will be considered by the railway board in June, Patil said. The city’s two main railway services, ran only 20 per cent of its regular services since Monday. Long-distance and goods trains were also pressed into service on the commuter routes. A central railway spokesperson told AFP that 170 drivers had been detained by police during the strike but 70 had since resumed duty.

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