ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union has warned of escalation of trade union action over a new acting General Manager who they allege was appointed illegally, violating the governing law of the agency and a recent court order.
The CEB’s general manager is appointed on the basis of seniority and under CEB Law the General Manager has to retire at 60 years.
The principle has been followed since the beginning of the agency, though the Minister in charge can extend the service under certain circumstances.
Sri Lanka this year extended the retirement age of state workers to 65 years. CEB Engineers Union had opposed attempts to extend the service of M R Ranatunga.
Ranatunga went to court seeking to stay in office. Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal did not issue an interim order at a hearing last week extending the term but ordered an interim general manager to be appointed until the case was completed.
CEB Chairman M M C Ferdinando then appointed Susantha Perera, a former employee as ‘Acting GM’.
CEB Engineers Union in a letter has alledged that the appointment was “bogus and illegal” and violated both the the governing act and the court order which specified a suitable person.
According the CEB Act anyone serving in the position of GM has to be below 60 years age and an employee subject to disciplinary action, the CEB Engineers Union said in a letter to the Chairman of the Board.
“Accordingly, as a responsible Trade Union, we have absolutely no way to accept your purported appointment of a bogus GM,” the CEB Union said.
“We have informed all our members to honor the court order and await the appointment of the GM CEB.
“Thus, in order to protect our membership, we are compelled to resort to TU action and reject our illegal appointment forthwith.”
There appeared to be no written approval of the minister in charge, the Union said
The CEBEU said it will escalate ongoing trade union action to Level II.
The threat of union action comes as money printing has destabilized the external sector creating forex shortages. (Colombo/Jan17/2021)