The Inter-Provincial Private Bus Association (IPPBA) and the Railway Employees’ Trade Union Federation (RETUF) are to begin countrywide bus and train strikes from midnight today.
IPPBA president Sarath Vijitha Kumara said there would be a countrywide bus strike if the government did not rescind the proposal to impose a fine of Rs.25,000 for certain traffic offences.
He said the strike would last for five days if the President did not intervene to settle the matter.
Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva announced on Monday that the Government would impose such a fine in respect of traffic offences such as speeding, drunk driving and overtaking on the left.
The strike is to be launched by all bus associations, in collaboration with motorcycle associations and container associations, in 16 districts.
Meanwhile, the Railway Employees’ Trade Union Federation convener Janaka Fernando said they would launch a 24-hour countrywide token strike from midnight today over several demands.
He said the token strike was mainly to express their opposition to the granting of Railway Department land to the private sector, the proposal to set up a land bank, irregular recruitment, the abolishing of pensioners’ rights and the proposed Railway Development Council.
He said the government pension scheme was established during the colonial era and not by a government elected after independence. The pension scheme was intended to protect public servants after retirement, and their families after their death.
“As a federation we are urging the government to safeguard the pension scheme and not abolish it,” he said.
He said the work stoppage would be only for a day because they did not want to inconvenience students sitting the GCE (Ordinary Level) Examination as most of the students travel by train to reach their examination centres. “Our trade union action will continue after the examinations,” he said. (Chaturanga Pradeep)