Trains back on track

Trade Unions of the Railways Department called off their strike yesterday following a discussion with President Maithripala Sirisena. Locomotive Engineering Operators’ Union (LEOU) Secretary Indika Dodangoda said that several trade unions had a meeting with the President yesterday morning at the President’s House in Polonnaruwa.

He said the President agreed to give a solution to their grievances.Dodangoda said that train services started to operate from last afternoon. “All trains will be operate according to the normal schedule from today,” he added.

Meanwhile, Transport Ministry sources said that the CGR incurred a loss of over Rs.70 million during the four day strike. Railway Trade Union Alliance Co-Convener Lal Ariyaratne said they received a positive response from the President about the Cabinet Paper with regard to their salary anomalies. He said the President had agreed to look into and solve the existing issues.

Railway engine drivers and guards launched the sudden and unannounced island wide strike on Wednesday afternoon over salary anomalies of railway employees. As a result, thousands of commuters including students sitting for the GCE Advanced Level exam were severely inconvenienced.

The railway unions strike was strongly condemned by the severely inconvenienced commuters, especially state and private sector workers and students. Enraged by the sudden strike, railway passengers on Wednesday evening staged a protest opposite the Colombo Fort Railway Station.

Authorities later called on the Police to control crowds with some of them getting violent and damaging property at the Fort Railway Station. The government organized special bus services to transport the stranded passengers.