Govt. warns of stern action if strike not called off by Monday

Stern action will have to be taken against those behind the trade union action if they do not call off the strike by Monday, State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Ashok Abeysinghe said today.

He told a media briefing at the Transport Ministry that the people would curse the railway strikers for the unjust strike and also assured that more SLTB buses and private buses would be deployed near train stations to provide alternate transport for the commuters during the strike.

"The railway TUs had earlier requested their salaries to be increased from RM-1 to RM-2 grade. Increasing the salaries of railway employers will have a negative effect on the salary structure of 519,000 state employees," the State Minister said, adding that the President had appointed the 15-member Ranukge Committee headed by S. Ranukge to rectify salary anomalies.

"In such a scenario it is unreasonable to continue the strike," he said. "Neither the Railways General Manager or the Transport Ministry were informed about the TU action in writing. No reasons were given either other than informing the media."

The State Minister said the salaries of public servants were increased by Rs.10,000 after this government came to power and later it was increased by another Rs.2,500, altogether a 107% increase.

Railway TUs launched an indefinite strike action from Thursday night claiming that the authorities had failed to rectify their salary anomalies. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)

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