Labour strike halts steam-engine toy train services in Darjeeling

Labour strike halts steam-engine toy train services in Darjeeling
Siliguri: Coal labourers’ strike brought the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) steam engines to a halt on November 11, the day a new contracting agency took over the toy train services.
The contractor reportedly failed to reach an agreement on salary issues with the labourers. The agency, though, had tried to convince the workers till November 15. The labourers’ stir finally forced them to quit the contract, according to DHR officials. “Till now, we have not roped in any other contractor to run the heritage railway service,” said an official.

DHR engages contractor to supply coal to the locomotives, while the contractors employ coal labourers.
There are six such labourers in Darjeeling, who load and unload coal in steam engines. At present, DHR runs three steam engines for joy-ride services. In 2018, the labourers of steam locomotives had staged a similar protest in August over non-payment of salary. They had called off the protest after the former contracting agency assured that their salary would be disbursed by the 5th of every month. The labourers alleged that they had not received the salary as per the promise.
“Coal labourers had salary issues with the new contractor. It is an internal matter. While the labourers demanded money, the agency claimed that they had done no work to be paid. Steam engine services, a major attraction for tourists in Darjeeling, came to a halt from November 11. DHR is suffering loss due to the suspension of services. We are cancelling bookings and refunding the tourists,” said the official. 
 
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com


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Coal labourers’ strike brought the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) steam engines to a halt on November 11, the day a new contracting agency took over the toy train services.

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