Railways declared ‘essential service’

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Railways has been declared as an ‘essential public service’ from midnight yesterday.

Transport and Civil Aviation Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe said the gazette notification to make Railways an “essential public service” was signed by the President and was issued last night.

Abeysinghe said that after declaring Railways as an essential service, if workers do not report to work without informing, the Railways general manager has powers to consider them as those who have vacated their posts.

He said despite the strike launched by Railway trade unions 12 trains operated in the morning and 19 trains operated in the evening in the main lines.

The strike launched by the Railway Trade Unions over salary issues continued for an eighth day yesterday severely inconveniencing the commuters.Several rounds of discussions between the trade unions and the government have been unsuccessful.

As a solution to the issue the Cabinet of ministers on Tuesday decided to make railways a ‘closed service’, distinct from the rest of the public service. This was done to remedy salary anomalies in various grades in the Railway service separately from the rest of the public service.

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