New Committee to Enhance Working Conditions for Indian Railway Loco Staff

Ministry of Labour's New High-Powered Committee Aims to Define Break Times and Improve Facilities for Train Drivers, Aligning with International Labour Standards!

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NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): The Ministry of Labour has established a high-powered committee to address the long-standing issues faced by the Indian Railway’s Loco Running Staff. This committee is tasked with defining time intervals for meals and restroom breaks during their shifts.

This development aligns with the principles of the International Labour Organisation‘s (ILO) Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, 1919, which emphasises the right to rest intervals during work hours.

The demand for specified break times has been a critical issue for train drivers, who often face challenging working conditions without scheduled breaks for basic necessities. The Indian Railway Loco Runningmen Organisation (IRLRO) has been advocating for these changes since 2009, addressing various national platforms and human rights bodies. The recent focus on female loco pilots’ specific needs has intensified the call for reforms, leading to the formation of this committee in 2024.

The only female member from the labour union, Ashima Sachdeva(Senior Assistant Loco Pilot), said, “Women loco pilots have a tough time on duty as there are several women-related issues, such as the inability to change menstruation pads as there is no washroom in the engine and doing a heavy job after C-section deliveries. We will present our issues to the committee to get those addressed in a rightful manner.”

Committee Composition and First Meeting

The committee comprises 13 members, including the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) as chairman, representatives from the Railway Board, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and members from various labour unions. 

The committee’s inaugural meeting on April 25, 2024, concluded with positive feedback from the participants.

Objectives and Future Directions

The committee’s primary focus is to implement defined break times for food and restroom use and consider necessary amendments to the Railways Act, 1989, and Railway Servants (Hours of Work and Period of Rest) Rules, 2005. 

The discussions will incorporate insights from all stakeholders to ensure comprehensive policy revisions. The committee aims to present its findings and recommendations within 12 months, promising substantial improvements in the working conditions of the railway’s loco staff.

This initiative marks a pivotal step in addressing the long-standing issue with the Indian Railway Loco Staff and labour reforms in India’s transport sector.


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