The Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka wants SriLankan Airlines to continue its unlawful EPF/ETF and tax scam.
Over the years SriLankan Airlines has been paying flying meal allowances in the billions of rupees annually to both its pilots and cabin crew at overseas hotels for long trips and locally for short trips which is not highlighted in their salary slips.
Neither the pilots or cabin crew have paid taxes for these monies received, despite the Flight Attendants Union (FAU) demanding that the airline’s management make EPF/ETF contributions for flying meal allowances received.
When Colombo Telegraph contacted Inland Revenue Department official Mahinda Gunaweera, he said “a thorough investigation ought to be carried out in this regard if the details exposed by Colombo Telegraph were true”.
Writing to the President of the Flight Attendants Union Adrian Cramer, the President of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka Capt Renuke Senanayake asked ” This is a payment, made to all employees of the Company; from the Chairman down, when on duty travel. Kindly enlighten us as to what gave you the right to jeopardize this earning for all of us”.
The head of the Human Resources, Pradeepa Kekulawala had responded to the FAU’s letter of demand, Colombo Telegraph has learnt
Kekulawala in a strongly worded reply had informed the FAU that the company would be more than happy to provide the existing meals on board for the crew and have them consume food in the hotel overseas and sign for it.This will be in lieu of having to make flying meal allowance payments and also having to incur further costs such as making EPF/ETF payments on top of that to the pilots and cabin crew.
However Kekulawala’s reply did not dispute the fact that EPF/ETF contributions should have been made all these years.
“Kekulawala’s suggestion if implemented is certainly going to uplift our loss making airline, as we could then go on to negotiate better room rates for the pilots and crew stays overseas. This is a huge cost to the airline annually and negotiating an all inclusive full board rate / deal would save millions of dollars throughout the entire network ” said a manager of the the airline’s In Flight Service Department.
We publish below the email sent by the President of the APGSL Capt Renuke Senanayake to the President of the FAU Adrian Cramer in full:
Mr. Adrian Cramer,
Flight Attendants Union.
Dear Mr. Cramer,
It is with a strong sense of disapproval and abhorrence we write this letter to you, to express our opinion on the stance taken by you and your committee, with regards to demanding that the Company pay EPF/ETF on meal allowances.
Meal allowances are not paid to Pilots and flight attendants alone. This is a payment, made to all employees of the Company; from the Chairman down, when on duty travel. Kindly enlighten us as to what gave you the right to jeopardize this earning for all of us.
Over the years, the FAU and the ALPGSL have worked closely together for mutual benefit. We have placed each other in high regards and a sense of cordial, mutual respect has always prevailed. Even when a Cabin Supervisor was earning a higher allowance than the second-in-command of an aircraft or when the Purser was earning a higher allowance than a Commander, we saw no reason to deprive any of you of that. It is common knowledge as to how these discrepancies in payments occurred and how they were secured, however, we saw no benefit in pursuing these matters as it would only have created hostilities amongst us. It seems though that you have seen fit to take the onus of creating a rift between us and as such, we will be requesting that the Government and the Company conduct investigations into how these allowances were paid, on what basis these values were justified and how the former Management provided a certain lump-sum to be distributed amongst your membership.
Perhaps you and your committee do not represent the opinion of your entire membership. If so, we sincerely hope that your membership take necessary steps to ensure that your rogue actions are brought swiftly under control. When the vast majority of your membership are contract employees; who will be the first to be terminated if the Company can no longer function as it is; it is benumbing to witness such insolent and brazen acts such as yours that put the livelihoods of your own members at stake.
As Pilots, we have single handedly, over the years, been responsible for millions of dollars in operational costs saved. At present, we have been given targets by our flight operations to actively pursue further means of cost savings to assist the Company in these dire times. We have and always will, place the future of this Airline above petty, individual gains.
As custodians of this Airline, we have always taken it upon ourselves to ensure that each and every one of you and all the other employees of this Company, have a means of feeding their families. However, by pursuing rattening acts such as your latest fiasco, you have perhaps driven the final nail in the coffin of our beloved Airline. We and all the other employees will hold you and your Union unequivocally responsible for this iniquitous deed.
Capt. Renuke Senanayake
President – ALPGSL
Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka,
216/45, Diyawanna Place,
Meanwhile the airline’s stewardess Nithya Senanaya Samaranayaka who was released to work for Namal Rajapaksa at Temple Trees during the previous Rajapaksa regime, has resigned from the FAU Executive Committee. No clarification is given if she resigned on her own or if she was asked to hand in her resignation.
Sending an SMS to all the Union Members, the FAU said “Dear Member, This is to inform you that Senani Samaranayaka has resigned from the FAU ExCo. Your Exco”.