Railway unions strike despite declaring services essential, Railways lodge complaint with police

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The railway unions have gone ahead with their promised strike action despite the Railways being declared as an essential service by the government.

The General Manager of Railways Dilantha Fernando has lodged a complaint with the police regarding the strike launched by the Railway Employees in an attempt to inconvenience the public while the train has been made an essential service.

The Department of Railways said action will be taken against the employees engaged in the strike for violating the Emergency Regulations.

Railway employees have launched the strike since midnight Thursday over several demands.

A special gazette notification was issued yesterday by the Secretary to the President Udaya R. Seneviratne on the order of the President making the railways an “essential public service”.

According to the law, any attempt to disrupt an essential service will be considered as an offense. However the Railway trade unions have disregarded the government order.

Deputy General Manager of Railways V. S. Polwattege said despite the strike launched today, several office trains were in operation this morning (28). However, it was reported that the trains operated with great difficulty since the signals were not functioning.

He said that several trains were operating from Kandy, Rambukkana, Mahawa, Chilaw, Galle, Matara and Avissawella this morning.

A Department Spokesperson said several fuel transport trains have been planned to run from the Kolonnawa oil terminal to the Katunayake airport.

Meanwhile, a program to recruit retired locomotive drivers, train guards, station masters, signal inspectors and road inspectors will be held at Shalika Hall in Narahenpita today. The purpose is to maintain the railway service continuously.

The railway trade unions collective launched the 24-hour token strike today since the government failed to provide a solution to their demands by June 28.

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