As a result of the committed service of railway employees, 20 trains in total were operated by 8.00 this morning (March 15) for the convenience of commuters despite the ongoing multisectoral trade union action, the General Manager of Railways W.A.D.S. Gunasinghe has said.
However, early this morning, the railway department confirmed that only ten commuter trains were in operation this morning, although 13 commuter trains had been scheduled to be operated as usual to minimize the inconvenience caused to the passengers.
According to a press release by the President’s Media Division on Tuesday night (March 14), 13 trains were supposed to reach Colombo Fort railway station from Avissawella, Chilaw, Rambukkana, Ganewatte, Maho, Kandy, Beliatta, Galle, Aluthgama and Kalutara South.
On Tuesday, the railway chief said several trade unions in the sector, including the Railway Guards’ Union, Station Masters’ Union, and Railway Controllers Association have not pledged support for the mass token strike today, although the Locomotive Engine Operators’ Union decided otherwise.
Ahead of the launch of the 24-hour strike action, the leave of all categories of staff in Sri Lanka Railways was cancelled with effect from Tuesday, until further notice.
All heads of the department to submit a report of the employees who do not report to work today, after asking them to show cause.
Railway service was declared an essential service in a special gazette notification issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe on February 27.
A joint trade union action launched by multiple sectors including health, education, electricity, banking, water supply, postal and ports is taking place this week, against the recent decisions made by the government including the tax policy revision, electricity tariff hike and postponement of the local government election.
The Professionals’ Trade Union Alliance (PTUA) resorted to a 24-hour countrywide token strike today, as the discussions held with the government ended without unsuccessfully. – ada derana