Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Disposal of surplus staff

Recently, the railways have decided to close down over 200 trains due to non-availability of engines and other administrative problems. Pakistan Railways has been running into loss recently despite the fact that all trains run with their full capacity. That means that like many other state run organizations, no studies have ever been carried out to make these organizations profitable and efficient. Awhile ago, I was part of a study group which was composed to address issues related to Human Resource Management of the organization I was employed with and visited many government organizations including the Pakistan Railway headquarters at Lahore. And when asked as to how the HRM related issues were addressed, we were shocked to know that there existed no HRM department despite the fact that Pakistan Railway is the second manpower intensive organization in the country after Pakistan Army.

In the absence of a dedicated HRM outfit, no one really knows how many employees does the Railway have and is it according to some ratio/proportion viz-a-viz the trains being run by the organization? And even if the existing work force is based on some age old calculation, has any study now been taken by the Railway to review the surplus staff after closure of the aforesaid 200 plus rains? If not, what are these surplus doing and still being paid?

While I would suggest a comprehensive appraisal be carried out of all such state run organizations like the Railways, Steel Mills and PIA (which has the one highest pilot/crew/ground staff ratio in the world and still very inefficient by any international standards) to make these profitable.

Pending any such appraisal, would it not be prudent and wise that the services of the surplus railway staff be provided to the Army and other organizations presently involved in flood relief operations, rather than them sitting idle and still getting paid for doing nothing.

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