SL train services canceled due to strike threat

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 January 2004, 15:05 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Railway Authority Monday cancelled all night passenger and mail train services to and from Colombo to Badulla, Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Trincomalee following the announcement by the United Railway Trade Union Alliance (URTUA) that about fifteen thousand employees would go on an indefinite strike from Monday midnight protesting against convertion of the Railway Department into Railway Authority, government sources said.

Railway trade unions demand that the Sri Lanka Railway Authority should be scrapped and the Railway Department be restored.

URTUA convener Mr.Amarasena Weddagala said about fifteen thousand workers including Controllers, Guards, Station Masters and Locomotive Drivers would be joining the countrywide strike from Monday midnight.

"We are not affiliated to any political party," he said.

Meanwhile a group of railway workers have filed a petition in the Court of Appeal praying that the Railway Authority should be abolished.

Sri Lanka Railways Authority Chairman Mr.Hemachandra Manatunge said the strike proposed by several trade unions is without any foundation and also on false grounds since special benefits had been provided for them under the new administration, sources said.

According to him, more than 300,000 daily train commuters would be inconvenienced due to the proposed strike. The Railway Authority is incurring annual loss of 2000 to 3000 million rupees, Mr. Manatunge said.

Mr. Manatunge said under no circumstances the Railway Authority system would be scrapped.

 

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