By Chaturanga Samarawickrama
Despite the Government declaring train services as Essential Service, the Railway Trade Union Alliance (RTUA) Co-Convener Lal Ariyaratne said that they would continue their weekly trade union action from tonight.
The TU struck work midnight last Thursday for 48 hours. The TUs said the weekly strike will continue until their demands are met by the Government.
A Special Gazette Notice was issued last night declaring train service as essential service, by Deputy Transport Minister Ashoke Abesinghe. He said the decision was taken following train strikes which had inconvenienced the public. “As an Essential Service, no trade union actions such as strikes can be staged. Stern legal action could be taken against them if they resorted to TU action. After declaring railways as an Essential Service, the Railways Department had invited retired employees to join the service,” the Minister said. Ports and Shipping Ministry Secretary L.P. Jayampathi yesterday requested all retired Locomotive Operators, Trackers, Station Masters, Signal Inspectors and Track Inspectors to return to service.
He said that a ceremony would be held to enroll them back to services on Friday under the patronage of Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga and Deputy Minister Ashoka Abeysinghe.
However, the Railway Trade Union Alliance (RTUA) Co-Convener Lal Ariyaratne said that they had decided to launch their weekly trade union action from tonight, following the influence made by the Government without solving our issues.