Sri Lanka’s Army has deployed troops to ensure the security at Railway Stations amidst an ongoing strike by railway workers.

Railway Station Masters and Train Controllers initiated a strike with effect from midnight on Tuesday (9) based on several demands, including the failure to address promotions.

The Ministry of Defence had requested the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army to deploy Army troops to assist the police in providing security at railway stations.

Sri Lanka Army said that troops have been deployed at 45 railway stations including Kandy, Katugastota, Matale, Peradeniya, Gampola, Nawalapitiya, Hatton, Watawala, Kotagala, Thalawakele, Nanu Oya, Ambewela, Puttlam, Chilaw, Madampe, Narrandiya, Alawwa, Polgahawela, Kurunegala and Mahawa.

Sri Lanka Railways said that despite the strike action, 35 trains operated on Wednesday (10) morning.

Railways Superintendent M. J. Indiplolage speaking to News 1st said that these trains operated along the Coastal Route, Puttlam Route, and the Main Route.

However, long distance trains did not operate, leaving hundreds of passengers inconveniences.

Transport Secretary Ranjith Rubasinghe said that a request was made from the retired railway personnel to report to work in order to maintain railway services.

He added that the railway workers initiated a strike, despite concrete steps being taken to address their issues.

Ranjith Rubasinghe, the Secretary of the Transport and Highways Ministry, emphasized that the transport service has been declared by extraordinary gazette as an essential function in the country. He added that the sudden strike called by employees is deemed illegal, and disciplinary measures will be taken against those who fail to report for work.

President Ranil Wickramasinghe officially gazetted the transport service as an essential service last week. Despite this, station masters and controllers initiated an unauthorized strike, which Rubasinghe highlighted as unlawful.

As a result of these abrupt strikes, night mail trains scheduled to run to Badulla, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa on Tuesday (9) were canceled. To mitigate the impact on affected commuters, the Sri Lanka Transport Board deployed buses.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Railways said that railway workers who do not report to work, will be considered to have vacated their positions.