Train strike continues despite being declared an essential service

Train strike continues despite being declared an essential service

Written by Staff Writer

04 Oct, 2019 | 9:58 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Gazette notification declaring railway services an essential service was issued by President Maithripala Sirisena last night (October 3). However, commuters were inconvenienced due to the strike action today (October 4) as well. Attempts made by News 1st to contact the Chairman of Railway Drivers Association proved futile.

The Trade Union of the Superintendents said despite railway services being declared an essential service, they will continue with their strike action until their demands are met. As per essential service order, the Ministry of Transport has ordered the General Manager of Railways to recommence train operations. However, only 17 trains operated today.

What measures could be taken when someone violates the conditions of essential service.

Speaking to News 1st Attorney-at-Law Janaka Edirisinghe spoke on this matter. He noted that when it is an essential service the legal issues surrounding the functionality of the employees are the next problem. He noted that under the law after the railway services were classified as an essential service, if an employee does not report to work, or obstructs someone from reporting to work, through an act or by words obstruct the employees, it will be an offence punishable with a jail term.

He added that this could also include a fine, a jail term and if the judge in his opinion thinks that this person is acting in a manner that obstructs this public service while knowingly intending to do so, and is seriously affecting the general public, no matter who this person is, the judge can confiscate all of his assets. He went onto note that if anyone fails to pay the fine, further action can be taken against them under this act.

Attorney-at-Law Edirisinghe noted that no employee can by virtue of him being a member of a trade union attempt to justify his actions of not reporting to work, or obstructing the activities, or obstructing another employee from reporting to work.

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