Services were mostly disrupted, but eight trains that left for outstations with the assistance of technical officers yesterday afternoon will return to Colombo this morning, says the Railway Department.
Over 3 million passengers affected
The strike without prior notice has disrupted 396 trips-a-day train services used by 3.72 million passengers on a normal working day.
On the first day of the strike, angry passengers created trouble at Fort and Maradana railway stations, damaged properties and manhandled several striking TU leaders.
Police and Army protection have been given to the railway stations since.
Some who could not go to their hometowns were seen spending the night at the railway stations.
Private buses were allowed to operate without route permits and the CTB deployed all its available buses, while the Army and the Navy ran a special service.
Want railways privatised
The passengers expressed views to the effect that train services should be privatized.
Issuing a statement, finance minister Mangala Samaraweera expressed regret over the inconvenience caused by the sudden strike.
A salaries commission
Speaking in parliament yesterday, he said that a decision was taken at the cabinet meeting on August 07 to appoint a commission to revise salaries of all public servants.
The relevant cabinet paper will be presented next week, he said.
Had the salaries of railway workers been increased, their salaries would have been above those of the teachers, principals and doctors, he said.
Meanwhile, president Maithripala Sirisena said the strikers should humanely consider their rights as well as the rights of the public before resorting to strikes.
Doors are open for anyone for discussion to resolve problems, he said.
However, the striking TUs say they have not yet been invited for a meeting by the authorities.
A TU leader Indika Dodangoda said they would continue their strike until their demands were met.
Central Bank statistics
According to Central Bank statistics, the railway department has 17,000 employees and it incurred an operational loss of Rs. 7.6 billion in 2017, up from Rs. 6.8 b in the previous year.
Two strikes called without notice resulted a 2.2 per cent drop in the department’s revenue last year, the CB said.