Train services resume in Bangladesh after 7-hour strike

Train staffers call off strike for overtime, retirement benefits after rail minister assures that their demands will be met.

Train services resume in Bangladesh after 7-hour strike

Train services in Bangladesh resumed on Wednesday after a seven-hour strike ended with the country's rail minister promising to meet rail workers' demands.

"I have informed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Finance Ministry about the demands of the staffers and as per directions of the premier, we have withdrawn the circular on curtailing mileage-based overtime allowances," Rail Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said after a meeting with the workers at the Kamalapur Railway Station in the capital Dhaka.

The agitated staffers responded to Sujan's asssurances by returning to their duties and resuming services at around 13.30 p.m. local time (0730GMT).

Rail-based public transportation services in the South Asian state of nearly 170 million people were disrupted from Wednesday morning due to the nationwide strike of railway workers over payments and other financial facilities, to the detriment of tens of thousands of passengers.

Earlier, Afsar Uddin, the on-duty chief of the Kamalapur railway station, confirmed that services were suspended across the country from 6 a.m. local time.

Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded at various train stations.

"I was supposed to go to Chattogram (southern port city) for an emergency work but have been stranded here for nearly six hours," Mohammad Bashir Uddin, a passenger at the capital Dhaka's Kamalapur railway station, told Anadolu Agency.

Nearby was a female passenger with large luggage and two children in tow. She said they had not been notified of the strike ahead of time.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Md. Azul Islam, one of the staffers of the railway department in Dhaka, said they were demanding a restoration of mileage-based overtime allowances and retirement benefits.

He added that they had been asking authorities to meet their demands for a long time to no avail.

Hüseyin Demir