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* Sri Lanka railway strike called off, engine operators agree to return to work
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 09:02 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 17, Colombo: The strike action launched by the Sri Lanka railway unions has been called off following discussions held this evening between the unions and the Ministry of Transport.

The strike launched by the members of the Locomotive Operators Union and the Sri Lanka Railway Technical Trade Union on Thursday (February 13) entered a fifth day today.

The representatives of two trade unions participated in the discussion in the evening.

A spokesman for the Locomotive Operators Union said the engine operators will resume work when they receive written assurances from the authorities regarding their demands.

The spokesman told local media that the trade unions have requested the authorities not to penalize the strikers.

The unions launched the strike to protest the Transport Minister's decision to remove the Chairman of the Railway Drivers Union I.L.K. Dissanayake from the Post of Supervisor to the Transport Minister.

Sumathipala Manawadu, the secretary of the Railway General Workers' Union said earlier that the strike was against deploying a number of railway trade union activists in the work of the Ministry targeting to disrupt the trade unions.

Railway authorities considered calling retired train operators to work on a contract basis to provide an uninterrupted service to the public.

The discussions held between the locomotive engineers and the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport on Sunday ended without reaching an agreement. However, both sides decided to hold another round of discussions today following which the agreement to return to work has been reached.

The commuters were severely inconvenienced Monday afternoon due to cancellation of a number of trains since the engine drivers have not reported to duty.

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