Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ strike continues indefinitely despite warning

Sri Lanka railway train

(Photo by Sasandu Siriwardena on Unsplash)

The Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ Union (SLRSMU) has decided to continue their strike indefinitely following the government’s decision to consider all Station Masters who had not reported for duty as having vacated their positions.

The General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways had warned that all Station Masters and Railway Controllers who failed to report to duty by 12:00 noon on July 10, 2024 would be considered as having vacated their positions.

Consequently, 922 Station Masters were deemed to have vacated their positions.

The union, which began their strike at midnight on July 9 over several demands including promotions, called for the resignation of the Acting General Manager S.S. Mudalige, criticizing his administrative skills.

SLRSMU chairman Sumedha Somarathna urged the President, Prime Minister, and relevant authorities to intervene and provide immediate solutions.

As a result of the strike, several trains, including office trains and night mail trains to and from Colombo Fort, Badulla, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and Rambukkana, were canceled.

This morning, only a limited number of trains operated: four from Polgahawela to Colombo Fort, one from Negombo, one from Avissawella, and three from Galle and Aluthgama.

No trains operated beyond Maho, and only 411 of the scheduled daily services ran.

A senior official noted that operating trains without Station Masters and Controllers is illegal and that it could take up to ten years to normalize operations after appointing new Station Masters.