The management of SriLankan Airlines yesterday did not extend the employment contracts of six of its cabin crew in keeping with a new policy decision taken to not extend the current contracts of over 300 flyers who joined the airline within the last three years.
This policy decision taken by the management of the national carrier comes barely hours after an unelected body of the Flight Attendants Union sent out an SMS initiating their first step of industrial action against the national carrier.
An SMS was sent out by a group of cabin crew led by Cabin Manager Adrian Cramer in retaliation to the airline’s management refusing to recognize them as the official body of the Flight Attendants Union. This was as this group assumed power in December of 2015, violating their very own constitution and taking over the functions of the FAU without holding a constitutionally required election.
The message read ” Dear Member a unanimous resolution was passed by over 250 members at the EGM to strictly adhere to the following 1.Fly your roster (Do not fly on your off day) 2.Do not use discretion (due to inducing of fatigue to operate a safe flight) All are requested to carry their printed roster on all flights.your EXCO”.
A very senior manager of the airline speaking to Colombo Telegraph on condition of anonymity as he is barred from speaking to the media said ” we will not let the airline’s business plan suffer in anyway especially with the threat of cabin crew going on strike. We have taken counter measures to ensure that not a single flight will be cancelled as our valued customers come first. Mihin Lanka cabin crew are going to be trained shortly to operate the Sri Lankan Airlines A330 aircraft as well. Cost is a serious factor and we are looking into it. The airline is considering recruiting more cabin crew through Mihin Lanka to fly exclusively on certain Sri Lankan Airline routes especially to Europe, which will drastically reduce the operating cost to these destinations. We are left with no choice now as the FAU has violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement by sending out this SMS and initiating industrial action. This leaves the management with no choice but to also look at the CBA clauses that were signed previously. Some of those are shocking where certain cabin crew are paid almost Rs 100,000 to merely operate a 48 hour duty to Europe and back. Mind you this is besides getting paid their monthly salaries. This is absurd. Also they are the only staff in the airline who gets paid when on annual leave too”.
Fearing a further backlash from the cabin crew of Sri Lankan Airlines the secretary of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka Capt. Anura Abeysekara sent out an email to all the pilots. This was to remind them of who is the ultimate decision maker on board according to the Flight Operators Manual approved by H.M.C.Nimalasiri Director General Civil Aviation and CEO of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.
Captain Abeysekara’s email is as follows:
From: Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka <xxxxx@xxxxx>
Date: May 25, 2016 at 14:47:25 GMT+3
Subject: FDP Extension
A gentle reminder that as per FOM 8.4.14, extension of FDP is at the sole discretion of the Commander.
Refusal by any crew member to abide by a Commander’s discretion to extend FDP, shall be considered as direct insubordination.
Capt. Anura Abeyasekara
Secretary – ALPGSL
Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka,
216/45, Diyawanna Place,