Railway workers have been severely affected due to the non-payment of distress loans, which are paid to public servants in an emergency and for emergency expenses in the event of a disaster or other credit requirement, the Railway Trade Union Alliance (RTUA) said.
A letter has been forwarded to the Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Artigala, Alliance Co-Convener S.P. Withanage said.
According to Chapter XXIV 10: 1 of the Establishments Code, at the request of the employee, subject to a maximum of 10 months' salary, the railway employees have the ability to receive a salary advance during a disaster.
"Relief from natural disasters such as floods, landslides, medical and funeral expenses, rent or house renovation, purchase of mosquito nets, purchase of a children's school requirement, books, computers and accessories. When, by becoming an external debtor, these loans are approved for public servants to prevent disrespect to the public servant as well as the public service," Mr. Withanage said.
Even though the approved loans have to be repaid promptly, the railway employees have to wait for years for the approval.
Approved in this manner, the unpaid loan to the railway employees has now accumulated to over Rs. 170 million.
This amount is snowballing day by day and the employees are suffering due to non-payment even though the employees have demanded a similar amount, Mr. Withanage added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)