Under the call given by the Indian Railway Employees Federation, Anti-Privatization day was observed across the country on 18 August 2020. Railway employees at all zones, divisions, production units, railway stations and workshops organized marches in a peaceful democratic way while maintaining physical distance, and made railway employees aware of the need to oppose privatization and save the railways.
A joint statement was released by NCRW Secretary and IREF National President Manoj Pandey and NREW Secretary and IREF National General Secretary Sarvajit Singh. They said that since coming to power for the second time at the Center, the government started corporatization of railway production units and handing over railway colonies, railway stations, railway hospitals and railway lands to private companies under the 100 day Action Plan on 18 October 2019. We opposed this by forming a Joint Sangharsh Committee at DLW Varanasi represented by our Prime Minister as MP. Under the IREF banner we, along with the struggle committees of all production committees, all recognized and non-recognized unions and organizations from almost all categories formed a Sanyukta Sangharsh Samiti on 8 December 2019 at the Mavalankar Hall in New Delhi for the first time in 50 years of the history of the railway movement. Under intensified pressure from this Committee the government had to back down from implementing the 100 day Action Plan. But now taking advantage of the Corona crisis the government has betrayed the people of the country and railway employees and has started selling the railways. When this government merged the Rail Budget from the General Budget, it became clear that they want to handover the railways (the people’s transport) to capitalists. We participated with all our strength in all the struggles of the central labor organizations (22 May, 3 July and 9 August 2020). As a result FIRs were registered against many of our central leaders, but from the start we have believed in our role as an alternative revolutionary federation rather than a movement for compromise and we continue the struggle vigorously.
On behalf of the Indian Railway Employees federation we have consistently taken independent initiatives. From 19 June to 26 June earlier this year we carried out the Protest Week campaign. Even today it is only the IREF that is observing a countrywide Anti-Privatization day among the entire Indian railways.
When the so-called recognized federations in the Railways compromise with the ruling powers and betray the railway employees and the people of the country, we forge a unity among railway employees, farmers, students and youth and consistently struggle for the interest of railway employees, even if it means that we may lose our jobs or be sent to jail.