Railway unions resort to weekly strike | Sunday Observer

Railway unions resort to weekly strike

Railway Trade Unions have decided to launch a 24-hour-strike from Thursday midnight to Friday midnight every week starting June 27, the Secretary, Railway Station Masters’ Union, Janaka Fernando told the Sunday Observer yesterday (22).

“We took this decision to urge the Government to expedite a sustainable solution to the anomalies in the railway service,” he said.

Following the announcement of an island wide railway strike by its unions, a special discussion was held between Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the trade unionists at the Ministry last week, hours before the strike. However, as the discussions failed to reach an agreement, four trade unions, the Sri Lanka Railway Locomotive Engine Operators’ Union, Ceylon Railway Guards’ Union, Railway Drivers’ Union and Railway Station Masters’ Union launched the 48-hour-strike commencing Thursday evening.

Fernando said the Government has two options. “The Government can either go back to the status quo prior to 2006 or appoint suitable persons with appropriate salaries,” he explained.

He said, “In 2006, the Railway Department was integrated into the Joint Government services modelled on the Health service.

As a result, the command and the hierarchy of the Railway Department were destroyed. We have been protesting against this for years but neither the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government nor the present Government has resolved this issue”. General Manager Railways, Dilantha Fernando told the Sunday Observer that the Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera has promised to resolve the anomalies in the railway service within one and a half months, at the recent discussion held with the unions. “These anomalies started with the 2006 (6) circular, according to which the salary was adjusted considering only the paper qualifications. Salary hikes and promotions given on work experience were cancelled,” said the GM Railways. However, the loss suffered by the Railway Department due to the 48-hour-strike is an estimated Rs. 19 billion.