The government has permitted the railways commuters to travel on Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses using railway season tickets until the railway trade union strike concludes.
Reportedly, a special bus service by Army has been deployed today (09) to transport the students sitting for the G.C.E. Advanced Level examination.
Several railway trade unions including drivers and guards had launched a sudden strike at 3 pm yesterday (08) protesting the failure to provide solutions to salary disparity in the railway service.
The strike action was launched without prior notice and the railway commuters had been severely inconvenienced as none of the scheduled trains were in operation after 3 p.m. yesterday.
Subsequently, the commuters commenced protesting at Fort and Maradana railway stations against the sudden strike.
Enraged commuters had blocked the Olcott Mawatha opposite the Fort railway station and had caused minor damages to the property of the railway stations.
Commuters stated that they were severely inconvenienced due to the sudden strike.
Commuters stayed at Fort and Maradana railway stations until late last night and Police Special Task Force (STF) and Army personnel were deployed to ensure the security of the railway stations.
According to the Department of Railways, one train had commuted from Colombo Fort to Matara last night.
SLTB and the tri-forces launched a special bus service to transport railway commuters to their homes.
Reportedly, the special bus service by the Army will be available today as well, to assist the railway commuters.
Meanwhile, all retired railway engine drivers had been requested to report at the Railway Headquarters by 6 am today (09) by the General Manager of Railways.
Ministry of Transport allowed private buses to operate on any route irrespective of their particular route permits until the railway strike ends, stated the Deputy Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.
Railways trade unions stated that they would continue the strike until a permanent solution is provided for the salary disparity issue.
President of the Railway Station Masters Association Janaka Fernando stated that they expect intervention of the President to provide a solution to this issue.
However, the Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera said that he strongly condemns the sudden strike action launched by the railway trade unions without prior notice and requested the trade unions to end the strike and to resolve the issues through discussions.