The Gazette notification which was issued declaring the railways as an essential service would be revoked if the trade unions agree not to launch any strike action within the next two weeks, Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said yesterday.
Speaking to the media at the Ministry premises, he said the gazette notification making the railway service an essential service was issued because of the number of railway trade union actions experienced recently.
"Strikes can be launched but it should not inconvenience the general public. The railways being gazetted as an essential service can be extended for a month in Parliament with the consent of the Minister and the State Minister of Transport.
The Transport Ministry does not want to make any service an essential service unless trade union actions are inconveniencing the public," the Minister said.
“Therefore, I requested the railway trade unions not to launch any Trade Union action within the next two weeks to ensure that the essential service gazette notification would not be presented to Parliament,” the Minister said.
While making certain services essential services, he said the government did not want to create problems for any employer or officials. “We are simply thinking about the general public.
"The Government will take certain decisions regarding these services in the near future in terms of the peoples' requirements. The move to make a service an essential service should be taken by the President or the Prime Minister with alternative teams on hand with the capability to deploy them in an emergency situation," the Minister added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)