Sunday, March 3, 2024

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SL Airlines union alliance join hands to save national carrier

In the wake of the government’s decision to restructure the loss-making national carrier, the nine main unions representing the employees of, SriLankan Airlines, have joined hands once again towards ensuring the survival of the airline and her staff.

“The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was renewed hails from a time during the previous government, which was determined to cease operations of the national carrier, representiaves of trade unions sweared.

 The senior management team that was appointed paved way for a significant increase in the losses suffered by the airline through penalty payments for cancellations of aircraft orders, and the cessation of operations to many destinations that were key to the tourist industry of the country,” the Alliance of Unions said in a joint statement. 

“It was argued that the Middle Eastern Carriers (ME-5) could be depended on to market our tourist industry and absorb the near 50% share of tourist movements that SriLankan was responsible for, when the airline was wound up. 

“Towards that end and at an exorbitant cost, the services of several restructuring companies were sought, to either restructure or advise the Government on ways of privatising it or closing it down,” it added. 

“The Alliance of Unions wishes to unequivocally emphasise to the public that all the losses pinned on SriLankan Airlines, is as a result of gross mismanagement, corruption and wastage by successive governments and officials appointed by them. 

They have all continued to engage in bad decision-making and as the losses compounded, blamed all of it on the average staff of the airline,” it stated.

“Thereafter, COPE meetings are convened where the airline is portrayed to be a national crisis that does not generate any form of revenue for the nation; despite the reality of generating over Rs. 184 billion in revenue during the 2018/2019 financial year of which over 80% is due to foreign currency influx; over $ 1 billion. 

“Yet those that have been wholly responsible for successively steering the airline through irresponsible and corrupt decisions are forgiven and forgotten due to their political affiliations and fealties,” it further stated.

“Once again, the loyal and dedicated staff are held to pay for the sins of these plunderers. 

The manner in which the report of the Presidential Commission of TInquiry for SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka was conveniently forgotten and brushed away, is ample evidence of the mismanagement of the airline,” the Alliance of Unions statement added. 

The objectives of the Alliance revolve around a joint effort to ensure that the airline is protected, transparency is maintained and wastage and corruption are eliminated. 

It consists of the Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL), Sri Lanka Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya – SriLankan Airlines branch (SLNSS), Flight Attendants Union (FAU), Executive Association SriLankan Airlines (EASLA), SriLankan Airlines Aircraft Technicians Association (SAATA), SriLankan Airlines Aircraft Engineers Guild (SLAAEG), Association of SriLankan Airlines Licensed Aircraft Engineers (ALAE), Jathika Seva Sangamaya (JSS) and Inter Company Employees Union – SriLankan Airlines Branch (ICEU).

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