Kochi: To protest or not? This is the question weighing in the minds of railway employees these days. For, the unions are not sure about the success of launching a sudden strike for implementation of a 36-point charter of demands that they have been raising for some time now.
The solution: a secret poll using ballot papers among the staff (class 3 and below, excluding officer posts) across the country to know the response to the strike plan, the second such attempt in the history of railways after a similar exercise in 2006.
“First, ballot papers were distributed to the staff by union members. There is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer which the staff can choose and tick. Then they can drop it in the ballot boxes kept at vital locations of important railway stations. There is no name or other reference so that the staff cannot be identified,” SRMU Thiruvanantha-puram divisional president P. Unnikrishnan said.
The polling in the division was conducted over the last two days that saw 80 per cent of staff recording their views on the strike plan. “The sealed ballots were sent to Chennai, Southern Railway headquarters.
Similarly, the ballots will be collected from all other sections and counted. The strike will be announced only if we could muster the support of over 50 per cent employees,” he said.
The main reason for the secret poll is the unions’ fear of a backlash from the staff themselves against a sudden strike announcement for issues pending for a long time....