With income at an all-time low, the Indian Railways has resorted to cost-cutting measures. And, as part of the cost-cutting measures, thousands of retired railway employees who were re-engaged in 2019 are likely to lose their jobs.
The move is also driven by other factors such as the increased vulnerability of retirees to COVID-19 on account of their age, highly placed sources in the railways said cutting these jobs will save the transporter crores in salary bills.
The jobs in question involve the junior-most staffers, involved in operations such as track machines, bridge, and similar technical safety categories. The pension they are entitled to is 50 per cent of the salary they get.
The Indian Railways’ ailing finances have taken a further hit in light of the COVID-19 lockdown, which brought Indian passenger trains to a complete halt — an unprecedented occurrence — until the Shramik Express operations were launched in May. With the pandemic threat still strong, full-fledged operations are yet to resume.
According to the sources, the zonal railways are seeking to terminate the services of the re-engaged staff with immediate effect in a bid to save money at a time when the revenue generated is at an all-time low due to the pandemic.
Some zones, like the Southern Railways and the South Eastern Railways, already terminated the services of the staff in May.
In a letter dated May 5, the Southern Railways said, “In view of partial attendance due to lockdown, and also greater risk involved in the case of those above 60 years due to COVID-19, it is decided that the services of all the re-engaged retired staff of all workshops of Southern Railways as per the details of given below are to be terminated duly given 15-days-notice.”