COLOMBO (News 1st) – Railway employees launched a strike action from midnight yesterday (September 25), citing several demands. The general public was severely inconvenienced due to this strike action.
They launched the strike action citing several demands including salary anomalies. Trade unions of station masters, drivers, controllers, and regulators joined the strike action.
The General Manager of Railways Dilantha Fernando noted that only six office trains operated from Chilaw, Galle, Kandy, and Kurunegala to Fort and the rest were cancelled. No trains operated from Fort Railway Station in Colombo this morning.
Meanwhile, the strike action launched by the university non-academic staff continued for the 17th consecutive day. Media secretary of the University Trade Union Joint Committee Saman Kariyawasam said the strike action will be launched until their demands are met.
Meanwhile, the strike action launched by the Government Service Executive Officers Association entered its second day.
The Teachers’ and Principal’s trade union launched a sick-note campaign today (September 26) and the group staged a protest in Colombo.
The protest that commenced in Fort, Colombo was joined by Ceylon Teachers Union, Ceylon Teachers Service Union and several other teachers unions. The trade union action is based on several demands, including the issue of salary anomalies.
The protesters’ procession moved on Lotus road with the aim of reaching the Presidential Secretariat but were barred from it. In the end, few representatives of the protesters were allowed to enter the premises of the Presidential Secretariat. The protestors remained on the road for around an hour until the group returned.
Mahinda Jayasinghe, the General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Services Unions noted that they were not directed to the Additional Secretary nor the President’s Secretary rendering their discussion a failure.
He added that they would resort to a 5-day trade union action if their demands are not answered by the Secretary to the President within the week.
Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union noted that 98% of the teachers in Sri Lanka reported sick and joined the protest. He added that they were not provided with an appointment with the Secretary to the President and they would not wait for a date and would be forced to shut the entire education system down tomorrow (September 27).
Meanwhile, Teacher-Principal’s trade union also engaged in a trade union action by applying for sick leave disrupting academic activities.
Our correspondent stated that most parents who brought their children to school took them back home as academic activities were not carried out. This situation was also seen across the northern and eastern areas.
Today State Minister Ashok Abeysinghe expressed his opinion regarding the railway strike after convening a media briefing at the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation in Battaramulla.
Ashok Abeysinghe, State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, noted that a Railway trade union of the Railway Department issuing a media statement informed that they will engage in a strike from midnight onwards however they had not informed the Railway Department, Railway General Manager, or the Ministry in writing.
He added that this was a disgrace to the trade union program as it was against the ethics. He went on to note that the trade unions have engaged in a strike when their salaries were already increased.
Minister added that they once they made the Railway service an essential service and they would look into that whether it could re-established as an essential service again.
Minister added that a number of state employees across the island are engaged in strike actions in order to inconvenience the government as the election is around the corner.
He added that to relieve the public from the inconvenience caused by the strike they have cancelled all the leave of the Ceylon Transport Board and over 1000 extra buses have been deployed across the island.
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