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This was, however, part of the series of strikes launched by the trade unions since last week.

The unions have taken off work, demanding higher salaries and several other demands and have urged the government to fulfil them as soon as possible.

In order to stop the sudden continuous strikes launched last week, a special gazette notification was issued on Thursday making railways an “essential public service’’ on the orders of President Maithripala Sirisena.

However, despite the special gazette notification, railway trade unions went ahead with the strike since Thursday midnight, inconveniencing thousands of passengers and tourists.

General Manager of Railways, Dilantha Fernando, told journalists that the Department of Railways had lodged a police complaint against the trade unions.

Fernando said legal action would be taken against the workers on strike for resorting to the strike despite railways being declared an essential service under a state of emergency.

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