Railway strike Nearly 3,000 workers suspended


Railway trade unionists have sought the intervention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) after the authorities suspended the services of some 3,000 employees after they failed to heed to deadlines to report for work.

The complaint was made to the ILO office in Colombo on Friday (5) last week, President of the Locomotive Operating Engineers’ Union (LOEU), Indika Dodangoda said yesterday (6).

He added that talks between the TU’s and the relevant authorities also continue to remain in a stalemate with the Government refusing to address the demands put forward by the strikers.

He further said that the strike will go on indefinitely until the Government addresses the demands put forward by several trade union organisations with the Sri Lanka Government Railways (SLGR).

The TUs are demanding that the salary anomalies adopted by the Cabinet on 11 March 2018 be implemented without further delay if the strike is to be called-off.

Meanwhile, the railway stoppage that commenced on 25 September enters its 14th day today, and the losses incurred by the SLGR are close to a staggering Rs 200 million, according to officials.

The Government has also declared the Railways Department as an essential service aimed at arm twisting the workers to return but without any success.

The SLGR management says that the demands could never be conceded since it will open the flood gates for other public officials to agitate for the same salary anomalies.

The treasury cannot concede to this pay increase simply because there is not enough cash reserves to go around, one senior SLGR official said.

Meanwhile, the Army is ready to provide assistance on whatever level if there is an official request towards this end, a topmost Military official said.

“The army is on standby and ready to assist but there is yet to be an official request towards this end,” Military Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Attapattu said.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Leon Berenger)