Railway strike called off in Sri Lanka
[TamilNet, Friday, 06 February 2004, 17:38 GMT]
The ten day general railway strike in Sri Lanka was called off Friday night after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government gave an assurance that it will consider reversing the process to run the island’s railways under a semi government authority. More than thirty trade unions in Sri Lanka’s railway system backed by the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna started the strike on 26 January demanding that Colombo should abolish the Railway Authority established under World Bank, IMF conditions six moths ago.
A senior railway official said services cannot resume immediately because strikers and suspected JVP militants had sabotaged engines, tracks and signaling systems during the past ten days.
Ceylon Government Railways (CGR) has been incurring heavy losses in the past.
The Railway Authority was established to gradually divest the CGR.
More than 17 thousand workers are employed by the Railway Authority.
Railway unions called a press conference Friday night to announce the compromise with the Sri Lanka government. Mr. Tilak Marapone, Minister of Transport and Mr. Rajitha Senaratna, Minister of Lands were also present at the conference.