The Railway Trade Unions have launched a sudden strike, which started 3.00 p.m. until further notice over a salary issue, Railway Trade Union Alliance Co-Convener Lal Ariyaratne said.
He said the trains that had already started their journeys would carry on but no train would leave hereafter.
Locomotive Engineering Operators’ Union (LEOU) Secretary Indika Dodangoda stated that this strike would continue their demands are met with.
He stated that the Secretary of the Transport Ministry had informed the Railway Unions that the cabinet paper approved by the Cabinet has been called off by the President at the request of the Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera.
Minister warned Cabinet
Meanwhile Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said he had warned of an impending railway strike at the recent Cabinet meeting when Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera objected to the Cabinet proposal brought in to resolve the salary anomalies of the railway employees.
He told at the weekly Cabinet briefing that the Cabinet Paper to address the salary anomalies of the railway employees had been brought in long time ago but it was delayed due to the objection of the Finance Ministry.
The Ministry of Transport stated that Railways commuters’ season tickets are valid to travel on Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses due to the Railway Strike .
Roads blocked as commuters protestA tense situation is reported at the Fort railway station as commuters are protesting against the strike action by the Railway trade unions.
Both lanes of Olcott Mawatha opposite the Fort Railway Station is currently closed off due to a tense situation caused by a protest of commuters against the strike action by the Railway trade unions.
Several Trade Unions including drivers and guards had launched a sudden strike at 3 pm today (08).
Maradana Railway station also reported a tense situation as there were no office trains.
Some of the commuters at the scene stated to Ada Derana that the railway services should be privatized.
According to them, these trade unions are not needed for the country as it continuously burdens the public; therefore, railway department should be privatized to ease the suffering of the public.
Meanwhile Railway season ticket users have been severely inconvenienced.
Some commuters were seen being emotional over the incident and minor damages have been caused to property of Fort railway station due to enraged behavior of commuters.