The work to rule campaign launched by the railway engine drivers, lasting two days, was called off from 8.00 p.m on Thursday (5) and the train services were back to normal by yesterday (6), the Controller of Railway Traffic said.
He said the normal number of trains, 350, ran according to the time tables, but large crowds were seen at all suburban stations and the trains were overcrowded. Hundreds of passengers were seen travelling on the footboards, hanging on the door handles and railings in most trains in the morning.
The General Secretary of the Locomotive Engine Drivers Union K. N. U. Konthasinghe told The Island that the government agreed to consider granting their key demands.
Among their demands were to name the railway engine drivers as railway pilots, granting of special allowances, including an allowance to those on night duty, abolish the plan to curtail the present period of training which is five years.
Konthasinghe said Transport Minister Felix Perera had agreed to appoint a committee, headed by a retired Judge, to recommend the necessary amendments to provisions in the Railway Ordinance to grant the first demand and make recommedations to the Minister on the special allowances demanded by the union.
This is the third time that the railway employees resorted to trade union action in less than three months. On February 20 railway employees launched a strike a few hours after the Transport Minister Felix Perera commissioned the newly laid rail track from Ambalangoda to Matara after the tsunami destroyed the southern railway line at a number of places.