Railway Board Announces Secret Ballot for Determining Employee Representative Body in July-August

Anticipation Builds as Railway Employees’ Fate Rests on Upcoming Polls

The Railway Board has officially declared the long-awaited Secret Ballot to determine the representative body of railway employees. Scheduled for the period of July-August, these polls have been eagerly awaited by the two major federations, namely the All India Railwaymens Federation (AIRF) and the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NIRF), as it serves as a crucial litmus test of their popularity and support among the railway workforce.

Delays Addressed by Secret Ballot Election Committee

Comprehensive Modalities Report Submitted

The Secret Ballot Election Committee, appointed by the Railway Board, has submitted its report on the modalities surrounding the upcoming polls. Comprising officers of the Executive Director rank, the committee engaged in extensive consultations with all stakeholders to ensure a fair and transparent process.

Reasons Behind the Timing

The committee acknowledged the prolonged delay in holding the Secret Ballot but outlined several reasons for the chosen timeline. February and March are peak months for loading and meeting targets, demanding the full attention of the railway machinery. Similarly, the summer months from April to June coincide with general elections, making it logistically challenging to conduct railway employee polls. Additionally, the crucial summer period is dedicated to the priority task of loading coal. Thus, the lean rainy season in July-August provides a suitable window for holding the Secret Ballot.

Preparation Advisory to General Managers

Notification Issued by Railway Board

Hem Chander, Joint Director, Establishment, Indian Railways, issued a notification advising all General Managers to prepare for the upcoming ballot during the specified July-August months. This advisory ensures that the railway system is adequately geared for the polling process.

Historical Background and Recognition Criteria

The Railway Board’s history of delaying the mandatory Secret Ballot, required every five years, has sparked frustration among railway employees’ representatives. Only two elections to determine union recognition have been conducted, prompting legal intervention. The All India Guards Council (AIGC) approached the Delhi High Court, resulting in a directive to hold the Secret Ballot at the earliest.

Outcome Criteria

The outcome of the Secret Ballot hinges on specific criteria. To gain recognition, a union contesting the election must secure a minimum of 30 percent or more of the votes. Alternatively, if no union achieves the 30 percent threshold, recognition can be granted to the union securing at least 35 percent of the ballot. In the absence of both scenarios, a union with a minimum of 20 percent of the polled ballots may still be granted recognition, though in this case, only one union will be recognized.

In conclusion, the eagerly awaited Secret Ballot brings a sense of anticipation and scrutiny, shaping the future representation of railway employees. The upcoming polls are poised to be a crucial turning point, determining the unions that will officially represent the interests of the dedicated railway workforce.

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