The train strike continues. However, Additional General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways: Vijaya Samarasinghe says, measures have been taken to run a few trains this evening.
Ten long-distance trains left the Colombo Fort Railway Station this morning, despite the ongoing strike by railway trade unions. The trains left for Chilaw, Kandy, Maho, Rambukkana, Galle, Avissawella and Anuradhapura. Meanwhile, two trains with fuel carriages left for Kolonnawa and Katunayake this morning. Samarasinghe says, railway employees on contract are now reporting for railway operations.
Minister of Finance: Mangala Samaraweera called on those on strike, to call off their trade union action, and come to the negotiating table. The government is not opposed to increasing railway workers salaries. Speaking in parliament yesterday Minister Samaraweera pointed out, however, such an increase will plunge the entire public service into crisis. Thereby, a commission will be appointed regarding the increase of salaries of all public servants. He added, a cabinet paper in this regard will be presented in future.
Meanwhile, Co-convener of the Railway Employees Trade Union Federation: D.M.V. Abeyrathne says, they agree to the appointment of a salaries commission, as proposed by the government. However, he emphasizes, the commission should not be subjected to political interference, and should comprise reputed public administration officials. Speaking at a media briefing held in Colombo today Mr. Abeyrathne also stated, they agree to transforming the Railway Service into a ‘closed service’, in which salary adjustments within the Railway Service will not have an implication on other sectors. He added, if an opportunity is provided for a discussion with the President, the issue can be discussed and a decision can be taken.