By Sheain Fernandopulle
The strike launched by railway trade unions for 12 days was called off following a discussion held last morning with President Maithripala Sirisena.
Commenting on this, Railway Station Masters’ Association General Secretary Janaka Fernando said they met with officials attached to the National Salaries and Cadre Commission on the instructions of President Sirisena where they were promised to fulfil their demands.
Railway trade unions decided to launch an indefinite strike from September 25 midnight demanding the implementation of the Cabinet’s decision – approved on May 18 last year – to rectify their salary anomalies.
All railway trade unions including railway guards, engine drivers, controllers, station masters and supervisory managers participated in the strike.
The strike, which did not seem to be called off, led the President to sign the special gazette notification declaring railway service as an essential public service under Act No. 61 of 1979.
Accordingly, Railways General Manager Dilantha Fernando said all railway employees should report to work as their leave had been cancelled after the gazette declaring railway service as an essential service.
“Any railway employee who does not report to work will be considered as having vacated his or her post,” he said.
Despite the strike, several trains operated to Colombo Fort. However, they were inadequate to fulfil the daily train journeys thus inconveniencing commuters.