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Rail strike will end when demands are met – trade unions

Railway trade unions are willing to call off the ongoing train strike anytime if the authorities give a favourable response to their demands, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Free Railway Employees’ Association Nadeera Manoj said.

A number of railway unions launched the strike at midnight last night (03 July) against the Secretary to the Ministry allegedly pressurising Railways General Manager Dilantha Fernando to reappoint a trade union official against whom disciplinary action had been taken for being intoxicated at work.

“At present 60 trade unions support our strike. What we request is to take necessary action against the trade union official who was under the influence of liquor during work. The authorities are not taking action against him as he supports the Government. We also demand a stop to political interference against the General Manager and let him do his job,” Manoj told RepublicNext.

Asked whether it’s fair to carry out a strike when railways is considered an essential service, Manoj said that the trade unions are ready to do whatever it takes to protect the reputation of the Railways Department.

The General Secretary further said railway trade unions have carried out similar strike actions in the past and will not hesitate to do so again whenever required.

“It is not our fault. We don’t want to inconvenience the public. The Minister, State Minister and the Ministry Secretary who didn’t enforce the law are at fault,” Manoj added.

Meanwhile, Lanka Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne told RepublicNext that the private buses are running while the train strike is being carried out.