Railway workers requested Transport Minister Dallas Alahaperuma to implement trade union proposals to reduce train delays.
`There are over 16,000 workers in the Railway Department, 1250 km of tracks and 333 stations but there are a number of vacancies in the Department,` General Secretary of the All Ceylon Railway Employees General Union, Sumathipala Manawadu said.
He cited a number of reasons and said that workers are not happy due to mismanagement, salary anomalies, non payment of salary arrears and over-time claims.
Vanacies are not filled, due promotions are denied and some workers are permanently employed on casual basis. Officials found guilty of corrupt practices after inquiries go unpunished and in a set up of this nature where workers are frustrated and show lack of interest trains are tend get delayed, Manawadu explained.
Railways contribute five per cent of the passenger transport needs and 30 per cent of Government`s goods transport. If the department is made to contribute more for the country`s transport requirements of both passengers and goods, it could be run profitably, Manawadu said
When contacted by The Island, Minister Dallas Alahaperuma agreed with the grievances of the workers. `These problems are there over the years and I had a discussion with union representatives on Tuesday. I will meet them again on Monday for a further round of talks and I am determined to uplift the railway transportation services in cooperation with the trade unions`, the Minister said.