Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The Rules provide that periods of rest of less than the normal scale may be granted in the case of permanent way and engineering works staff.
It is prescribed that in every calendar month these railway servants shall enjoy one period of rest of not less than 48 consecutive hours or two periods of 24 hours each. Apart from these, all continuous workers, with the exception meantime of the running staff, will enjoy a rest period of 24 consecutive hours per week. Essentially intermittent workers and supervisory staff are not given a weekly rest under the rules, although a number are said to enjoy it. We recommend that the weekly rest of not less than 24 hours provided under the Act of 1930, subject to the usual emergency exceptions, should be granted to all continuous workers as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made.
An attempt has been made to forecast the position when the employees of all railways, including running staff, come under the statutory limitations. We have been supplied by the Railway Board with a statement covering all employees, including those coming within the scope of the Factories and Mines Acts, who, as above indicated, are not covered by these rules. The percentages are based on an analysis of the figures of four of the state-managed railways on which arrangements for the application of the regulation to all excepting running staff are well advanced. The forecast of approximate percentages of employees, including running staff, when the Hours of Employment Rules have been fully applied is as follows:—
Employees excluded as supervisory .. .. .. 1
Employees excluded on account of light character of work 4
Other employees classified as in work of essentially intermittent character with maximum of 84 hours per week .. 15
Classified as engaged in continuous work up to a maximum of 60 hours per week other than factory and mine workers .. .. .. .. .. 58
Factory and mine workers .. .. .. .. .. 22
There is little difference between railways as regards the percentages of employees classified under the first two categories, but the percentages of essentially intermittent staff varies considerably owing to variations in traffic density and other factors. There are differences of opinion as to the employment that should be scheduled as " essentially intermittent ", and statutory provision is made for the appointment of supervisors of railway labour whose inspection of actual working conditions under the new regulations should help towards improved classification of the different kinds of work under this head. As shown above , the great bulk of railway servants are classified as continuous workers. Excluding those who come within the scope of the Factories and Mines Acts, figures supplied indicate that, when the new rules have been fully applied, 12% of the continuous workers will be employed not more than 48 hours, 43% not more than 54 hours and 45% not more than 60 hours per week. Including factory and mine workers, it is estimated that the numbers of the continuous workers employed for not more than 48, 54 and 60 hours respectively, will be about equal.
We are informed that steps are already being taken to apply the regulations to running staff, as well as to the rest of railway servants, and that instructions have been issued to provide them with a periodic rest by an increase in staff that will not exceed 2% of the present strength. We have been advised by the Railway Board that, during next year, administrations will report the extent to which it has not been possible, with this increase, to apply in addition the stipulated weekly limitation. In view of the years that have elapsed since the ratification of the Washington and Geneva Conventions and since the application of the provisions to workers in factories and mines, special efforts should now be made to put these regulations into effect as quickly as possible. In our opinion increased measures of uniformity of application are desirable and in particular it should be possible, after consulting the workers and their representatives, to arrive at an understanding respecting the general lines of classification of essentially intermittent workers. As indicated above, the proportion of these workers is small, and the Act of 1930 provides that they cannot be employed for more than 84 hours in any week. We recommend that the Railway Board should reconsider the practicability of reducing these hours and of giving days of absence at reasonable intervals where weekly rest days cannot be given.