The Flight Stewardess girl released for Namal Rajapaksa‘s work and now planted in the Union of Sri Lankan Airlines, is being used in a detrimental manner which could even see the airline being grounded, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today.
Nithya Senanaya Samaranayaka, was removed from her flying duties frequently in the past to perform unknown duties for Namal Rajapaksa on the request of the former Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga. This was revealed in the Jayaratne/Weliamuna report when the airline was investigated last year.
According to the Jayaratne/Weliamuna findings Nithya Senanaya Samaranayaka is also still to reimburse the Rs 4.2 million owed to the airline.
The repercussions of not acting upon the recommendations of Jayaratne/Weliamuna report is now finally taking its toll on the airline nearly nine months later.
In a startling revelation an employee within the Human Resources Department of the airline said that out of the nearly 1100 cabin crew at present, nearly 800 cabin crew were recruited during the Mahinda Rajapsksa regime during the last ten years. There was mass scale recruitment facilitated by Rajapaksa forces within the airline who still hold powerful managerial slots even today.
“This figure of union members making up of the Rajapaksa force within the Flight Attendants Union has now started to create havoc within. The number which is enough to ground the airline if they so wish to do, has now taken the Flight Attendant’s Union by force. They have the numbers and the demands they have made and received makes even the most senior managers’ salary packages look like mere pittance. We saw it happen before when the cabin crew waged a strike to get rid of Water Riggans, the Emirates Airline appointed Director of Service Delivery then. Those who pulled off that strike were handsomely rewarded with multiple promotions within the airline.” said the HR official barred from officially speaking to the press.
The Labour Union of Sri Lanka confirmed that the national carrier’s senior management had made several calls making queries regarding Colombo Telegraph’s expose of the ‘unelected’ group of union members that is causing havoc at present.
K.D.Gemunu Chandrasiri the Human Resources Development Officer of the Labour Union of Sri Lanka told Colombo Telegraph that he felt something was not right when his office was inundated with numerous calls regarding the submitted names of the ‘unelected’ Ex-Co of the Flight Attendants Union (FAU).
“I felt suspicious about the genuineness of this issue when our phones kept ringing. This was when several people wanted to check the authenticity of the submitted new list of names of the Executive Committee Members of the airline’s union” Chandrasiri said.
Now in a further startling revelation the current Head of Service Delivery Chanaka Olagama, also a person who benefited with several promotions during the Rajapaksa regime, facilitated a meeting with the ‘unelected’ union team, which also included Namal’s Stewardess Nithya Senanaya Samaranayaka.
It was confirmed yesterday that the Secretary of the ‘unelected’ union team, Lanka Kamalgoda was then facilitated a meeting with Labour Union officials in Colombo.
“Doubts have now been raised if even the Head at the Labour Union is also someone who greatly benefited during the Rajapaksa regime” said our source.
At 17:22 hours after Kamalgoda’s visit to the Labour office, all 1082 Flight Attendant Union members received a text message from the regular FAU Dialog registered number 0772655296.
The Message read as follows:
Dear Member, FAU EGM (extraordinary general meeting) 2nd Feb 2016 BMICH@1500hrs.
Your hard fought privileges,facilities and earnings are in jeopardy!!!!
Your presence is important
1) Operators Scheme
3) Termination of 17 crew members
4) Arbitrary Security Checks
5) CBA violations
However Colombo Telegraph learns that the five points sent in this text message by the ‘unelected’ union group, is to lure the crew to congregate on the 2nd of February 2016 and obtain signatures simply to justify their existence. These signatures are still insufficient to justify their illegal take over, as according to the constitution the FAU follows, a months notice is required to be given to the membership before an AGM could be held to elect a voted body.
However during the last month the group of ‘unelected’ union members had held two other meetings with Olagama which the senior management of the airline was oblivious to.
During these two meetings all five points in the text message mentioned above had been bungled by them on behalf of their cabin crew.
1) The airline’s management subsequently snubbed their demands to block six economy class seats on all flights where their flight duty period exceeds 11 hours.
2) Failed to change the seniority criteria for promotions
3) They did not represent the 17 cabin crew members said to be terminated when the Chairman Ajit Dias had called them for a meeting.
4) The incoming set of cabin crew operating the flight Madras/Colombo recently,were security searched by the airline’s security department in the cabin crew office area. Bags, body and lockers were checked.
5) The Human Resources Department has entered a clause to the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new clause gives the HR Department the right to transfer all such crew members to any any subsidiary of Sri Lankan Airlines. This is in complete violation the existing signed CBA which only gives allowance for pregnant stewardesses to be assigned office duties where ever vacancies exists within the airline. Even the male cabin crew are forced to sign this clause.
“This text message was sent by a force that is currently using the FAU mobile number in an unauthorized manner. We currently do not have a legal representation of us. Nobody knows who originated that text message. The group of Union Members who forcibly assumed power by ousting the previous Ex-Co of the FAU, has also now gone on to sign cheques and disburse of monies that belong to our union.” said a member of the cabin crew union.
When Colombo Telegraph contacted Commercial Bank to verify if the signatories had been changed, the bank refused to comment. However bank officials confirmed that they will not seize to stop any payment until a complete verification process is made. This was after it was notified to them.
If cheques have been already issued, it can be safely established that it had been done in a fraudulent manner. The submission of the AGM minutes to the bank is mandatory along with the list of elected officials, namely the President, Treasurer and Secretary who are the three signatories of the FAU.
“Sri Lankan Airlines as a policy have never tolerated employee acts of fraud in the past.” said a former employee.