The Railways trade union is continuing their strike, despite a Gazette notification which declared railways as an essential service.
According to an announcement made by the Railways Department – those who do not report to work within 24 hours of the official notice will be considered as employees who have vacated their posts.
How much does a railways strike affect Sri Lanka?
Daily train turns on a normal day: Over 350
Train turns during the strike: 09
Loss caused by the strike: Over Rs. 12 Million
Sri Lankans across the island use the train services to travel long distances.
The working class living far away from their work place, and those who make a living thanks to these train services.
These are the people who are struck the hardest due to this strike.
Why are they striking?
- Method of recruiting train drivers
- Salary anomalies
“They threatened us, they said they are facing a situation where they are unable to operate the trains which are in operation now. This is not a large pay rise that we are asking for. ” – said Janaka Fernando (Chairman – Railway Operators Union)
The Railway Station Masters Union has warned officials saying their actions could result in Sri Lanka losing even the GSP+ concessions.
What are the officials going to do?
According to the Commercial superintendent of Railways N. J. Indipolage, details will be collected of employees who do not report to work tomorrow (December 11).
Indipolage stated that appropriate action will be taken over the matter.
Meanwhile the Deputy Min. of Transport Ashoka Abeysinghe has apologized to the public for the inconvenience caused.
He stated that all engine drivers employed on contract basis will be recalled.
“I believe that by Monday or Tuesday we will have about 50 trains in operation. I believe by that time we will be able to restore the office trains service.” he added.
The Voice Against Corruption
VAC convener Wasantha Samarasinghe called on officials to provide solutions to the issues highlighted by the Railway Trade Unions.
Samarasinghe stated that the ministers who are delaying decisions are the same who call “air ambulances” to travel overseas for medication at tax payers expense.