SriLankan restructuring plan : Govt yet to approve says Chairman | Sunday Observer

SriLankan restructuring plan : Govt yet to approve says Chairman

In reply to the allegations levelled by the Alliance of Unions of Sri Lankan Airlines, Chairman of the local carrier, Ajith Dias, in a letter dated December 15, says that due to financial and other constraints faced by the government, the board has not received approval for the restructuring plans put forward by it.

The letter further demonstrated discontent on the double standards of the Alliance of Unions. It states that the representatives of the unions who were present at the awareness meeting on December 6, showed cooperation and assurance to a great extent, but had taken a different stance in its letter to the management and media.

Sri Lankan Airlines’ Alliance of Unions, in its letter, blamed the hierarchy of the institution, stating that the management is highly incompetent and requested that the restructuring process be formulated in keeping the opinions of the employees’ representatives while maintaining transparency.

The letter issued by the Chairman, addressed to the Presidents of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka, Association of SriLankan Airlines Licensed Aircraft Engineers, Executive Association of SriLankan Airlines BIA, Flight Attendants Union and the SriLankan Airlines Aircraft Technicians Association, explains further as to why information requested by the Alliance by way of RTI was not issued.

“Information requested by one of the unions under the RTI Act cannot be disclosed due to its personal nature and as stipulated in the Right to Information Act,” the Chairman says. Further clarification reveals that the total remuneration of the senior management team of SriLankan Airlines amounts to less than 1% of the total wage cost of the company.

SriLankan Airlines is a USD 950 mn (Rs. 140 bn) company in terms of revenue and needs highly skilled and experienced management, employed at market rates in keeping with salaries in specialised companies here and abroad. “The Chairman and the Directors are not paid a salary nor any allowances,” the letter reads. It further gives an undertaking that the consultants and the management will engage with the Unions in the implementation of the plan on the restructuring of the company, while stating that the management is working closely with the officials committee to see, how best the debt could be taken off from the balance sheet, receive jet fuel at international market prices and right-sizing the company.

The chairman reiterates that although a corporate restructure will result in formidable challenges, it needs to be done in the best interests of the Airline and its employees. The letter concludes with the assurance that irrespective of what is reported, they are confident that with the buy-in of a majority of our associates, the company could be turned around to a positive situation.