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* Assaults on train drivers in Sri Lanka escalating, union seeks protection
Thu, May 22, 2014, 09:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 22, Colombo: The Railway Engine Drivers Association, the trade union of engine drivers in Sri Lanka today sought protection from authorities after an attempt to assault a train driver was made.

The Association said that a group of passengers attempted to assault an engine driver on the Kelani Valley line at the Narahenpita Railway Station this morning.

Railway Engine Drivers Association president T.J. Wijerathna told Hiru News that safety of engine drivers is at risk as passenger assault incidents are reported daily.

Earlier this month passengers, angered by the 'slow' ride of Colombo bound commuter train from Mho, assaulted the train driver at the Polgahawela railway station delaying the train services on the main line.

Sri Lanka police arrested two people yesterday for assaulting the engine driver of the Maho-Colombo commuter train at Alawwa Station on Tuesday.

Wijerathna said the union is scheduled to meet Transport Minister Kumar Welgama to discuss the developing situation.

The Railway Engine Drivers Association earlier launched a work-to-rule campaign to protest the suspension of four engine drivers following two train accidents at Pothuhera and Aluthgama train stations within a week time.

Power-set Engine Drivers resorted to trade union action yesterday to protest the inaction of railway authorities to draw their attention to the safety of engine drivers.

However, the government ordered all the drivers of the railway power sets to report for duty. The government has cancelled their leave and told engine drivers that they are not eligible to obtain leave without a medical certificate from a government hospital.

The Train Control room said that normal train services are operating as usual despite the Narahenpita incident.

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