Railway workers suspend strike

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 October 2003, 17:02 GMT]
The United Alliance of Railway Trade Unions(UARTU) Thursday appealed to its members to return to work from Thursday midnight after the forty eight hours' strike, which crippled the railway services in the country, with a warning to the government that it would resort to stringent trade union action if their demands were not met within the next fourteen days.

The UARTU comprises 60 railway employees' unions with about eighteen thousand members. The island's train services came to a standstill from Tuesday midnight when all key workers including locomotive drivers, railway guards, controllers and station masters, went on strike. The two day strike was launched demanding job security under the newly formed the Railway Authority, sources said.

All long distance train services including those operating from Galle, Matara, Kandy and Puttalam were cancelled. Offices and ticket counters of all railway stations were closed.

The UARTU launched the token strike Tuesday midnight when a month-long discussion between the Alliance and the minister broke down, and the Alliance charged that the government had failed to grant their demands.

The trade union's demands include the granting of all privileges, holidays and salary increments of normal government servants to employees under the newly formed Railway authority, an extra seventy five percent salary increase, trade union representation at the policy making level of the Railway Authority and a compensation scheme to include pension, sources said.


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