|Thursday, 23 January 2003|
by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi
A lightning token strike by engine drivers was settled after a two-hour discussion between the General Manager of Railways (GMR) and the Engine Drivers Union.
The sudden strike, which inconvenienced thousands of commuters, commenced at 4.00 pm and ended at 6.00 pm.
General Manager Railways Priyal Silva said the trade union action was unjust as he was not given prior notice. "They informed me about the strike at 3.00 pm and I immediately called them for a discussion, but they went on strike while the meeting was going on."
The drivers launched the strike on 15 demands. But the General Manager said 10 of those demands have been already been met and another four will be met.
Silva said the last demand was to transfer the Personal Assistant (who is also an engine driver) of the Chief Engineer (Motives power) to the shed. The General Manager noted that this demand is unjust as Executive Officers are allowed to keep a dedicated person as their personal assistant. "However, we allowed that demand too."
Silva lamented the inconvenience caused to commuters by the trade union action.
"I understand the difficulties faced by commuters but it was not my fault and I took all measures to ensure a normal service."
Produced by Lake House