Written by Staff Writer
03 Jul, 2019 | 9:56 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Railway employees are set to begin their continued strike action once again tonight (July 03).
The protest is staged to oppose the efforts taken by the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, to intervene in disciplinary action taken by the General Manager of Railways.
Co-convener of the Railway Trade Unions’ Association S.P. Vithanage noted that the General Manager, as the disciplinary authority, has taken disciplinary action against a Trade Union Leader who was under the influence of alcohol.
He noted that the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport is intervening to safeguard this individual. He went onto note that he demands that this action be suspended and that this individual be reinstated in service.
Vithanage noted that the Transport Ministry is intervening to have this disciplinary action halted and if they do not go back on this decision, they will stop the functioning of all railway travel from midnight tonight.
Attempts made by News 1st to reach the General Manager of Railways Dilantha Fernando proved futile.
Secretary to the Ministry of Transport L.P Jayampathi stated that he at no point intervened to have the Trade Union member reinstated into service.
State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Ashok Abeysinghe stated that he will take steps to intervene and resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to the General Manager, Ministry Secretary L.P Jayampathi stated that as train services have been gazetted as an essential service, that steps should be taken to have the service without any disruptions.
Jayampathi further stated that it is the responsibility of the General Manager to complete the required cadre of workers while also taking steps to penalize those who do not attend work without informing in advance.
The Railway Trade Unions also carried out strike action over the last two Thursdays citing issues surrounding salaries and promotions.
The Railway Department has also stated that given that the railways is an essential service, all who refrained from working on the day of the strike will be provided with the opportunity to present facts about the case. The police are awaiting direction from the Attorney General regarding this matter.
The Police stated that they have begun looking into matters based on a complaint made by the General Manager of Railways.
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