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Friday December 9th, 2022

SriLankan Airlines pilots on industrial action over 189 dollar rate, salary cuts

ECONOMYNEXT – Lower dollar exchange rate used to calculate salaries in one of the key concerns raised by SriLankan Airlines pilots who have started a “Fly for Roster” campaign where they will not work on off days demanding quick solutions to their grievances, industry sources said.

The Airline Pilot’s Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) commenced what they call “Fly the Roster” campaign on February 4 which the ALPGSL cited “as a result of grievances not being resolved as assured by the Airline management in December 2021”.

Fly the Roster effectively means that no pilots will be available standby in the event of a duty pilot falls sick or go on a sudden leave.

The current exchange rate is a key issue in the industrial action.

SriLankan pilots are among few people in the country who are protected via dollar salaries from the money printing of the central bank, which leads to depreciation and high domestic inflation.

The central bank has declared the exchange rate to be 200 to the US dollar while injecting liquidity to keep rates down as the economy recovered, leading to forex shortages and parallel exchange rates.

“The pilots are paid less about 189 rupees per dollar which is less than the central bank fixed rate. Also the management has cut down pilot’s salaries during the lockdowns and it has not reversed this decision,” a source familiar with the pilot’s grievances told EconomyNext.

“So pilots’ salaries are reduced by both salary cut as well as paying a lower than market dollar exchange rate. On top of that, they also have cut down a lot allowances.”

Sri Lanka started printing money in 2020 to keep interest rates down in a bid to create a ‘production economy’, but the move has created severe monetary instability and labour unrest is rising.

A similar situation was seen in the 1980s, as money was printed and the currency depreciated creating strikes and social unrest.

“Some of the pertinent issues included contractual violations on the part of the management,” the ALPGSL said in a statement without elaborating the grievances.

Download : Pilots-Guild-Statment

During the Coronavirus pandemic SriLankan pilots took a cut in salary and benefits, along with most other private companies, which they say has not been reversed as indicated.

Industry sources told EconomyNext that a case had been filed in Labour Tribunal over the salary cut and the SriLankan management promised to do reverse from the start of next financial year starting on April 1.

However the management promised to address their grievances by January 31 when they launched a similar campaign in mid December, but it has failed to stick to its promise, according to sources linked to pilots.

The ALPGSL also has demanded to reverse some of the recent changes including probationary period for pilots as their grievances, the sources said.

An official at SriLankan Airlines, responding to EcononyNext’s query on pilot grievances said the company had nothing to do with dollar conversion rate.

“They (pilots) should deal it with the central bank. We have been paying their dues in dollars. It’s true that there is a salary cut and the management has promised to reverse it from the next financial year,” the official said.

“Despite their Fly by Roster campaign, there is no issue with the flights. Most of these pilots earn a monthly salary of more than 1 million rupees.”

Since October 28, the central bank has ordered to convert all dollar inflows into bank accounts of all Sri Lankans creating unhappiness and taking away their ability to protect themselves from monetary expropriation through depreciation.

There have been calls to reform the central bank’s governing law to block the ability of activist central bankers to print money and generate monetary and economic instability. (Colombo/Feb15/2022)

Comments (4)

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  1. MO77 says:

    Foreign workers does not get real rate for their money sending is a big problem. Sri Lankan airline is loss making business which is burden for the country.

  2. David Milli-banda says:

    You buggers have job & are guaranteed a salary. Just shut up get on with your job.
    Demands…. demands…. demands everywhere.

  3. Sagara Perera says:

    Teach them a lesson of their life. HE president do what LKY of Singapore did. Thousands of pilots are begging for jobs worldwide.

  4. Dhammika wijesinghe says:

    How about the other crew members

View all comments (4)

Comments (4)

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. MO77 says:

    Foreign workers does not get real rate for their money sending is a big problem. Sri Lankan airline is loss making business which is burden for the country.

  2. David Milli-banda says:

    You buggers have job & are guaranteed a salary. Just shut up get on with your job.
    Demands…. demands…. demands everywhere.

  3. Sagara Perera says:

    Teach them a lesson of their life. HE president do what LKY of Singapore did. Thousands of pilots are begging for jobs worldwide.

  4. Dhammika wijesinghe says:

    How about the other crew members

Sri Lanka president slams power regulator chief after conflicting with minister

ECONOMYNET – The powers to change the electricity tariff in Sri Lanka is vested with the Minister of Power and not the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL), President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Parliament.

The minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekara has requested an upward price revision to be implemented in two phases both in January and July next year, saying the recent tariff hike was not enough for the state-run utility provider Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to continue uninterrupted power supply.

However, Jaynaka Ratnayake, the Chairman of the PUCSL had said  the recent tariff hike is enough for the CEB to cover the cost of production and it will not allow another price hike. However, he has said a twice a year price revision is necessary though it should be in April and October instead of January and July.

President Wickremesinghe said the PUCSL chief was opposing the tariff hike due to his personal reasons.

“The power is vested with the Minister and me. I am the one who made the PUCSL act and I know what is in it,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament on Thursday. quoting a letter from the Attorney General which mentioned provisions in the island nation’s Electricity Act.

Accordingly the Act, the PUCSL would be statutorily obliged to give effect to such policy. It is observed that neither the Act nor the PUCSL Act contains any provisions that empowers the PUCSL to change or act invariant of such policy guidelines.

“The Chairman of the PUCSL is misguiding the general public. I have to meet him and see,” Wickremesinghe said.

WIckremesinghe said the Chairman does not want the tariff hike because he owns one of the highest electricity consuming companies.

“He is the Chairman of the Trillium corporation. It is the firm that takes up the most energy”, he said.

The Trillium group is managed by Janaka Ratnayake and he also holds positions as the chairman and CEO of Trillium Property Management & Services Ltd., City Housing and Real Estate PLC, Trillium Residencies Ltd., Computer Care (Pvt) Ltd., and Rent a Comp Services (Pvt) Ltd., and JR Management Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.

“It means when the electricity bill increases, his expenses increase as well”

He said the CEB still has a loss of 300 billion rupees since 2013 and it needs to be covered.

The CEB issue can be solved only in three ways, either printing more money, increasing value added tax or increasing the tariffm, he said. (Colombo/Dec08/2022)

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Sri Lanka President bemoans over inconsistent LNG deals

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe bemoaned over successive governments’ liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal that has brought in all the world powers into the discussion.

Wickremesinghe’s center-right United National Party (UNP) had discussions with India and Japan between 2002-2004 for an LNG project.

“Following dialogues with India and Japan, the UNP government could come to agreements to get two LNG power plants. After we were defeated the successor government, without cancelling those agreements granted it to New Fortress company in USA,” Wickremesinghe told the parliament.

“Thereafter, as they did not like New Fortress, they gave it back to Pakistan and China. So within the same premises, there were China, Pakistan, India, USA, Japan and only Russia was not there.”

“It was wonderful that a world war did not ignited there as there were five main powers in the world.”

“Now there is no LNG or anything here and now they ask me to solve this issue.”

Wickremesighe’s outburst comes as his government is forced to raise tariffs on power prices after successive governments failed to implement cheap and renewable power generation projects.

He said a total loss for the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board since 2013 was 300 billion rupees and a possible drought next year could increase the 2023 electricity cost to 420 billion rupees.

“If it rained, we need Rs. 352 billion while Rs. 295 is required if rained so much to have floods. How are we going to find this money? We would have to print money, but Rupee would depreciate. We would have to increase VAT but it would increase the price of all commodities or to charge it direct.” (Colombo/Dec08/2022)

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Air quality drop forces Sri Lanka to close schools; public warned

ECONOMYNEXT – A rapid drop in air quality in Sri Lanka has forced the Colombo government to close all schools across the country after a deep depression over Southeast Bay of Bengal, officials said.

The Education Ministry, issuing a special notice on Thursday said, it has decided to close all government schools for Friday, after discussing with the officials in Meteorology Department and Disaster Management Center.

An official said the drop was due to the deep depression over Southeast Bay of Bengal carrying the air from India.

Due to the depression over South east Bay of Bengal (370 km east of Trincomalee) has concentrated into a cyclonic storm “Mandous” by Wednesday night.

“Cyclone in the Bay of Bengal that is the prime reason for the increase in the pollution load as we receive more wind from India,” H.D.S.Premasiri, Senior Scientist, Coordinator-Air Quality, noise and vibrations at National Building Research Organization (NBRO) told EconomyNext on Thursday.

Officials said there is a likelihood of the cyclone moving west-northwestwards and further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm tonight and cross North Tamil-Nadu, Puducherry and South Andhra Pradesh coast around midnight of 09 th December and the maximum wind speeds will be 70-90 km per hour and can increase up to 90 in sea areas.

“Hopefully, today we can expect normalization in the environment and the effects of the fog will disappear”.

According to the NBRO’s real time Air Quality Index Indicator, the quality of air in northwestern coastal district of Puttalam has dropped drastically and indicated a particular matter (PM) 132, while Kegalle (85) and Mannar (84) were the districts which had next worst air quality.

According to NBRO, Battaramulla, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Kegalle, Mannar and Puttalam indicate a poor quality of air due to higher PM.

“The fog will lead to lung and breathing issues,” Premasiri said.

“So the public is warned to wear a mask when they travel outside. The pollution highly prevails in city areas and has a less impact on the other parts of the areas.” (Colombo/ Dec08/2022)

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