- Entire train service would come to a standstill by tomorrow or the day after
- Railway Drivers’ Association announced a strike from last night
- Station Masters’ Union to join with the strike tonight
By Chaturanga Samarawickrama
Nearly 140 trains, including office and intercity trains, scheduled for today have been cancelled due to a strike launched by the railway workers in Colombo, the Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU) said.
SLRSMU President Sumedha Somaratne said the trade union action was launched while pointing out the unavailability of fuel for them to report for duty.
Due to disruption of the train service since last morning, two inter-city trains running from Colombo Fort to Kankesanturai at 11.50 am and to Batticaloa at 03.05 pm were cancelled.
The official further said the reason was due to the non-release of the trains that are parked at the railway yards. Due to the situation, the entry and exit of the train from the railway yards did not take place in the afternoon.
“If the government made the railways an essential service, the employees in the department should fall under the same category.” If the government did not treat all the sectors in the railway department in an equal manner, the whole train service would come to a standstill by tomorrow or the day after, increasing the current issue. As a result, the whole government sector will come to a stop, “Somaratne said.
All employees at the Railways Department have no quarters, and no special vehicles were assigned. They have to use their own mode of transport to report for duties other than the train service, he said.
Meanwhile, the Railway Drivers’ Association announced that they will refrain from services from midnight yesterday. Somaratne said that if they take that decision as the Station Masters’ Union, we will also have to go for another trade union action if the government does not listen to us.
The train service in the evening was uncertain and most of the trains were not operated. Negotiations have started to provide fuel to the employees of the yards, enabling them to come to work.