Strike cripples Sri Lanka's train service
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 January 2004, 16:28 GMT]
The strike launched by railway employees from Monday midnight has brought the Sri Lanka's train services to a halt. Talks held between a
delegation of railway trade unions and two Cabinet Ministers Tuesday evening ended in a failure, sources said.
Railway control room said Tuesday that almost all long distance passenger
and mail trains did not run as scheduled inconveniencing hundreds of thousands of
The Sri Lanka Transport Board has deployed more buses on service to ease
difficulties faced by commuters, sources said.
More than ten thousand railway employees have been on strike from Monday
midnight demanding that the newly established
Railway Authority should be abolished and the earlier Railway Department
structure restored, sources said
The Sri Lanka government says the Department of Railway was converted to an authority
six months ago and it is impossible to scrap the new structure. However the
government is prepared to consider more benefits to railway employees who
have been willing to join the newly formed Railway Authority or to retire
without joining the authority, a Transport Ministry official said.
Special benefits have been provided to employees who want to retire without
joining the authority. Those who have completed a ten-year period of
service in the railway department can retire voluntarily, sources said
Railway employees have been given time to join the Railway Authority till
Meanwhile Transport Minister Mr.Tilak Marapone said he is prepared to
meet railway trade union officials to find a satisfactory solution to their
demands, sources said.