The Railway Trade Union Alliance (RTUA) announced on Monday, August 27, that the nationwide strike initially planned for Wednesday, August 29, has been suspended. Union leaders decided to postpone the work stoppage after meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss salary issues and other demands. It is possible that the RTUA will call for another strike if talks break down with the president.
RTUA leaders called for the strike after failing to reach an agreement with the Salary Commission. A similar action was held August 9, leading to the complete suspension of rail services in the country. The strike enraged some commuters, who attacked union leaders and staged a massive demonstration in the capital Colombo in front of the Fort railway station.
Rail strikes are not rare in Sri Lanka; in May, unions launched a 48-hour action claiming that the authorities had failed to fulfil their demands (salary increase). The Sri Lankan rail network is 1568-km (974-mi) long, with 179 main stations. Sri Lanka Railways operates intercity services connecting major towns on the island as well as commuter rail services in the Colombo region.
Travelers are advised to keep abreast of the situation.
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