Rail strike a success: Only 10 trains operated


By Harichandra Gunaratna

Train services countrywide came to a virtual standstill with only about 10 trains operating yesterday due to a token strike at midnight on Thursday demanding that the government rectify their salary anomalies.

Our efforts to ascertain the situation from railway officials failed as they all wanted us to talk to them in the evening.

Sumathipala Manawadu, General Secretary of the All Ceylon Railway Employees General Union, said that the strike would be called off at midnight yesterday.

He said that 333 trains were scheduled to be operated per day and at least 284 operated on any given day.

He said they were contemplating a joint strike by all railway unions in the near future as most of their problems which could have been easily solved had been conveniently neglected during the last six years.

Manawadu said that the government had failed to rectify the salary anomalies of railway employees during past six years and instead of bringing a solution to these issues, what some officials did was to attempt to create a rift between different unions and deceive the employees with false promises.

"Repeated warnings to the government about the strike and the 48-hour ultimatum went unheeded and we were forced to resort to trade union action," Manawadu said.

He said the government and the Salaries and Cadres Commission (SCC) had not made any effort to resolve the issue and was not at all concerned about the strike.

Manawadu said 95 percent of the railway employees, comprising engine drivers, station masters, controllers and guards had struck work on Thursday.

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