A strike was staged by the Train Engine Drivers’ Association for recruitment process of train drivers since midnight yesterday, December 06.
General Manager of Railways, S.S. Abeywickrama expressed his views to News 1st yesterday, December 06, saying that the Train Engine Divers’ Association has notified in writing of the impending strike.
According to the Railway’s Control Room, only 50% of the total trains commuting on a daily basis are currently in operation as a result of the strike.
Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva requested the railway trade unions to consider the inconvenience caused to students sitting the G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination, and call off their strike action.
Issuing a release, the Ministry said the subject minister had requested the trade unions to resolve issues through discussions, therefore, a special discussion between the trade union and Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation began at 12 noon.
According to the Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union they will continue their strike action as they did not receive proper solutions to their issues through the discussions with the Ministry of Transport.
The Railways Control Room stated that seven trains will be operating on the Main Railway line, four trains along the coastal railway line. and one train will be operating on the Kelaniweli railway line.
Furthermore they added that the night mail trains that were to travel from fort to Badulla and Galle were cancelled.
The trains that were to travel to Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and Thalai-Mannar have also been cancelled due to the strike.
The People’s voices
“When we take a look at the recent past- the number of strikes we saw are over 10.”
“The people who are doing jobs have no way of reaching work.”
“I earn a daily wage. How will I live?”
“We are teachers, the holiday season is almost at hand we have a lot of work these days.”
Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, G.S. Vithange stated that they have obtained a court order for not enacting the recruitment procedure and that the Railway superintendent or the secretary to the Ministry cannot go against a court order.
According to the Secretary of Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union, Indika Dodamgoda, the committee appointed by the highest possible administration officer in the country, cannot get the job done and that is why they have launched a trade union action.
Furthermore Chairman of Assistant Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union P.A. Danushka Perera stated that they demand from the government to stop what they are doing with the people and make it a compulsory service by obtaining the cabinet approval.
He stated that they are ready to start now and carry on the train services.