New Delhi, October 21: The Railway union has planned a "two-hour strike" on Thursday to protest over the issue of unpaid bonus to employees. The pan-India strike will affect trains across the nation amid the ongoing festive season -- when most routes are functioning at near full capacity. Ths strike could be averted if the government issues a favourable announcement on bonuses by early tomorrow. Dussehra Bonus For Non-Gazetted Central Government Employees Approved by Union Cabinet.

The protest is akin to the 1974 agitation called by late veteran union leader George Fernandes as Railways employees across the nation are expected to join the strike. The disruption, though planned for two hours, will lead to the derailment of normal schedule for the entire day.

All India Railwaymen's Federation (AIRF) has warned the government that trains across the nation will come to a halt due to a strike - for the first time in the last 46 years. "We are firm to go ahead with the agitation if the bonus is not declared," said Federation chief Shiv Gopal Mishra.

The Railway union has justified its call for strike by pointing out that the bonuses which it is seeking pertain to the financial year 2019-20. The government cannot use the pandemic of this year as an excuse to block the bonus of last fiscal, they argued.

The Centre is yet to respond to the demands raised by employee unions. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the government's financial resources are strained, which is considered as the reason why no favourable announcement has been made so far on bonus for the Railway workforce.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 21, 2020 04:47 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website