Striking railway employees notified over vacated posts – Minister

Minister of Transport Bandula Gunawardene says that letters have been sent to all railway employees who participated in the strike notifying that they are considered to have vacated their respective positions. 

He stated that the General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways has sent letters informing all Station Masters who have not reported to duties and are engaged in the strike that they are considered to have vacated their positions. 

The General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways had warned that all Station Masters and Railway Controllers who fail to report to duty by 12.00 noon yesterday (10) would be considered as having vacated their positions.

Accordingly, all the striking Railway Station Masters and Railway Controllers were instructed to report for duty at their respective railway stations or at least to the nearest railway station before that deadline.

The Sri Lanka Railways Station Masters’ Union had decided to launch a strike action from midnight on Tuesday (09) based on several demands including promotions. Railway Controllers had also later decided to join the strike action, which has severely impacted train services in the country and resulted in the cancellation of multiple train journeys. 

However, the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport Ranjith Rubasinghe emphasised that since public transport including railway services have been declared as essential services, the strike launched by the Station Masters’ Union is illegal.

Furthermore, he stated that strict disciplinary action would be taken against those who are not reporting for duty.

However, the railway trade unions in question had vowed to continue their strike action despite the warnings from railway authorities and the Transport Ministry.

The Railway Station Masters’ Union stresses today that if the government tries to control the trade unions through oppression, the trade unions of the entire railway service will never hesitate to join together and fight against such oppression.

President of the union Sumedha Somaratne said that the railway employees will not carry out any act of sabotage under any circumstances and that he believes their demands will be resolved promptly.

He also mentioned that the executive council of their trade union will meet this afternoon (11) and decide on the future course of action, if their demands are not met.