BENGALURU: THE split roster system introduced for 100 Train Operators (TOs) attached to the Baiyappanahalli Metro depot is causing a major heartburn for the staffers.
The reason: Dividing an eight-hour shift into morning and evening hours ensures lack of sufficient rest and time for other activities throughout the day.
Put simply, this is how the system introduced since February 2017 for drivers running the Purple Line works: An operator is allocated different shifts for work. It could be 6 am to 10 am and then 4 pm to 8 pm. Or 7 to 11 am and then 4 pm to 8 pm or 5 am to 8 am and 4 pm to 9 pm. These are just a few of the combinations given and the shift timings could cover any time between 5 am to 11 pm, when trains run on both the Green Line (Nagasandra to Yelachenalli) and the Purple Line (Baiyappanahalli to Mysore Road).
There is no exemption given to any TO. Thankfully, no such split duty has been introduced for the 110 TOs attached to the Peenya depot who run the Green Line.
It was initially supposed to be on a trial basis and staffers were told it would be for a very short period. “However, it has been five months now and there appears to be no move to remove it. The daily number of 19 drivers put on this roster has, however, been reduced since June 1,” said a Train Operator.
Seven TOs are presently put on the shift roster during weekends while three have to adhere to this schedule from Monday to Friday. A TO generally gets to perform this split duty once a week.
A union member juts in, saying, “The reduction in staff put on this system daily was because the Bangalore Metro Rail Employees Union approached the Labour Commissioner and filed a complaint against the unfairness of the system.”
Despite relaxation rooms with beds, a TV room and a recreation room available for spare hours, staffers are pretty unhappy about this arrangement. “Women employees, who form at least one-third of the TOs, are particularly unhappy as they do not find adequate time to tend to their cooking or kids,” says Suryanarayana Murthy, union vice-president.
Shift timings do not make sense: Employees
A top official said the rush in trains during peak hours made the management of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Litd (BMRCL) try out this system five months ago. “In a city like Bengaluru where traffic is the biggest problem, it does not make sense for an employee to go home after the morning shift and then return in the evening again to run trains. It is very important we are on time too as a train is earmarked to be run by a specific loco-pilot too,” says an employee, requesting anonymity. On a better footing are the ones who reside in the BMRCL staff quarters, located in the vicinity of the Baiyappanahalli depot. “They can go home and get back to work after rest,” he adds. However, an operator who resides in the quarters, says, “You feel restless all day when you need to get back to work later. You cannot leave the area to carry out personal work out of fear that you might be late for work.” An employee attached to the Operations and Maintenance unit says, “BMRCL has to recruit more loco-pilots and relieve us all of this weekly headache.”