25 October, 2020

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SriLankan Airlines Cabin Crew To Commence Industrial Action, Villifies Chairman Ajit Dias And CEO Ratwatte

The Cabin Crew of SriLankan Airlines will commence industrial action today in protest over the management’s non acceptance of their Flight Attendants Union Executive Committee Members’ legitimacy.

SriLankan airline 1An emergency meeting was called for by Cabin Manager Adrian Cramer which was also presided over by Cabin Manager Dion Jansz that was attended by over 200 Cabin Crew at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo yesterday.

This emergency meeting was held after the management of Sri Lankan Airlines wrote officially to Cabin Manager Adrian Cramer and indicated that they refused to accept a group of Cabin Crew headed by him as the official body of the Flight Attendants Union (FAU), as they neglected to furnish proof of their official capacity despite being written to officially.

In a series of articles commencing January 2016, It was factually reported by Colombo Telegraph that the group of cabin crew masquerading as members of the Executive Committee of the FAU were in fact in violation of their very own constitution. This was when Cabin Manager Cramer along with a group of Cabin Crew forcibly took over the reins of the FAU in December 2015, even though they did not hold a ballot which was constitutionally required.

At the meeting today a motion was passed to commence immediate industrial action where by the Cabin Crew will refuse to fly on their days off.

It was also passed to cut down on the In Flight product offered to passengers depending on the number of available Cabin Crew on board.

This industrial action will continue until the management of the airline agrees to accept them as the official FAU body and commences engaging in dialog with them.

Over the years the management of the national carrier has always operated with numbers way below their required cadre of Cabin Crew and has juggled around with their off days to ensure that flights were properly crewed.

A Cabin Crew Member who attended the meeting speaking to Colombo Telegraph on condition of anonymity, as staff of the airline is barred from speaking to the media said “The meeting started off with Cabin Managers Cramer and Jansz assuring those present that the current body of the FAU Executive Committee Members were a legitimate group according to their consulted lawyer Chrishmal Warnasuriya. Cramer and Jansz also went on to highlight the incompetence of both the Chairman Ajit Dias, who they said has no prior airline experience and the CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte who equally has no management experience to hold such a post. Even the current Head of Flight Operations Capt. Rajind Ranatunga was verbally shredded. Further another motion was passed to hire the services of a private investigator and find out who is responsible from within to have colluded with the airline’s management and also to seek the culprits who frequently leak out information to Colombo Telegraph”.

A senior manager of the airline also speaking on condition of anonymity said “These guys are simply crazy but more ungrateful I must say. Firstly they beg for jobs at the interview stage when they choose to join. They promise the sun, moon and stars and also say that they will do any flight, anytime and that they will even scrub the floors of the toilets on board if they are given the job. A few years down the road and they have forgotten all these promises they made and now wish to hold the airline to ransom. They are currently paid much more than most qualified professionals within the airline and a majority of them are paid over half a million rupees a month as wages, even though most don’t even hold a basic degree. They are utterly stupid the way they are behaving now especially due to the hardships we as an airline are currently facing. We will shortly be over staffed with Cabin Crew when our flights to Paris and Frankfurt stop soon. Only then they will understand the value of the jobs. At the rate they are behaving they will certainly help the airline with closing down those European stations sooner than planned. This may be a blessing in disguise. Also the Cabin Crew will have no more flight stop overs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Kunming as they are all going to be round trips for them. As the management of the airline we certainly do have a backup plan to counter these sorts of threats put forward by the Cabin Crew. Rest assured we will not let our valued passengers suffer in any way due to these threats”.

The last time the FAU went on industrial action was in 2004 under the then Cabin Manager and President Primal De Silva. This was when the national carrier was run in a ten year partnership with the Dubai based carrier Emirates Airline. One of the primary reasons for that strike was when the FAU wanted the Emirates Airline employee and Head of Service Delivery Walter Riggans out. It was alleged that the strike was part of a concocted effort pulled off by De Silva and his union members on the instructions of the then Chairman Peter Hill, whose job as the Head of Sri Lankan Airlines was being threatened by Riggans. The FAU won that battle, Riggans was sent packing back to Dubai, whilst Hill continued his term until the contract with Emirates Airline terminated. FAU President Primal De Silva was rewarded for his effort and was promoted to the post of Safety Manager, even though he never conducted a single safety class in his career up until that point. His subsequent rise from then sees him currently holding the post of General Manager of the airline’s International Aviation Academy.

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Latest comments

  • 21
    3

    This is a good time to shut this mega money eating monster called Sri Lankan Airlines.

    This so called national airline is a heavy loss making silly government enterprise, always managed by utterly corrupt persons who got into their jobs due to their connections to the politically powerful. Why should the financially poor gamarala pay to keep this monster fed till kingdom come.

    Gutless corrupt politicians will try and keep this monster afloat with their snouts well and truly entrenched in the ever flowing gravy train.

    Or privatise it.

    • 10
      0

      Who has the time and money to waste on Sri Lankan Airlines crap any longer?

      Be it from the politically appointed board & mangement, employees or corrupt clowns of GOSL, who have been meddling with this airline for several decades now. While wasting away this nation’s much needed wealth.

      While little girls & little boys who run Sri Lankan Airlines continue to bicker on petty affairs, VietJet founder Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao built a whole new airline in just 5 years.

      Please have a look:
      http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/24/nguyen-thi-phuong-thao-takes-vietjet-from-bikini-flights-to-ipo-in-5-years.html?__source=facebook%7Cbusiness%7Clink%7C052516%7C2AM%7CVietJet-bikini-flights-IPO

      Politically connected Sri Lankan Airline clowns, Please go hang yourselves in shame.

      Cheers!

      • 9
        0

        A senior manager of the airline has said that a majority of the cabin crew is paid over Rs. 500,000/ a month. This is an index of profligate expenditure, the scale of which can be estimated or at best imagined.

        • 5
          6

          I just heard Sri Lankan Airlines CEO Ratwatte is paid 4 million per month.

          If correct, bloody hell! For doing exactly what? For turning the company around? If so, when can we see the results?

          Or is it because his smooth operator brother Charitha Ratwatte sits with his greedy behind firmly placed on Sri Lanka’s impoverished treasury chest?

          I call this daylight robbery from the people. Who pay taxes when they buy sugar, flour & life-saving medicine. Shameful.

          Cheers!

          • 4
            2

            Oh Yes…quantifiable..like Rs.150000/-(lack & a half)per day! God damn Saturday and Sunday as well, then you want to reduce staff? Cut flights? I can hear MR laughing in Madamulana. HeeeeHuuuu

        • 3
          0

          If the Sri Lankan farmer can earn 1/100 th (one hundreth)of what a cabin crew employee earns…?

  • 27
    1

    These maids and houseboys have an over inflated sense of ego. They say they’ll do anything and get political push to get their jobs. Place is overstaffed with cabin crew members. FIRE them.

    • 5
      1

      Actually presenr day maids look way better than most cabin crew now…most of whom are from THE KINGS AREA…SOUTHERN PROVINCE…..who has to spend more than 70 % of their salaries to bhy mame up to paint themselves to look like embalmed bodies…theze Airborne WAITRESSES N WAITERS. Think no end of themselves…FIRE them all…they r paid high salaries to do a job….if they cant perform Simply FIRE them..

      When these obnoxious bytches ask me….TEA COFFEE OR ME……ID SAY DEFINITELY NOT U …BUT TEA …..YES ….3 SUGARS PLS

  • 12
    19

    These Colombo chicks have to be a bit careful here.

    Batalanda Ranil is all out to cull the staff, before he off loads Srilankan to the Arabs, at less than half price.

    There are thousands in India who can do these waitress and waiter jobs at high altitude.

    Unless this FAU can pull out the Pilts too.

    Even then Batalanada and his Yahapalana executers will be happy , because they can stop the Airline and claim it is not their fault..

    Why do you think Batalanda Ranil is so desperate to sign that FTA with Hindians.

    • 7
      0

      What Colombo chicks?!?!?!? It’s overstaffed with girls from the villages hired by MaRa’s bil for political and other purposes.

  • 27
    2

    Please do not repeat do not let cabin crew take over the control of the airline. They are the most sought after staff members of the airline having all the luxuries and now bargaining for more. Even the other staff members are having grievances but they never resort to these type of actions. Whether the Chairman and the CEO are qualified to run the airline or not is left to the government to decide.

  • 17
    0

    Oh yes bothers and sister, do it well. Let the Airline have it’s own natural death, and save the country and the poor people from wasting money which should have been put to better use for their the welfare.

  • 17
    1

    Taxpayers are paying excessively for this wasteful airline. I hope the government finds a way to sell this early. If there are no buyers, then auction off the assets and what cannot be sold, sell for scrap. It will be cheaper in the long-run.

    As for the striking crews, they have a cushy job and it is unfair to demand more.

  • 3
    6

    First, that “Senior Manager” who said: “These people come begging and promise to do even toilet cleaning….” referring to the cabin crew, must feel ashamed of himself/herself being a “Senior Manager”. Those remarks he made and reported in this article show what caliber of personnel are holding those “Senior Management” positions and that gives us a clear indication of the way this airline is run. We always jump to blame the underdog; but do not see what is happening in the “higher Circles” that manage and give Leadership. Those words uttered by that “Senior Manager” are enough of a yardstick to measure what has terribly gone wrong with the airline. This is what Mr. Eran Wickramaratne, the Junior Minister overseeing the Public Corporation must make a serious note; because he said recently in an interview with the press that there is not going to be any changes at the higher Management level of the SriLankan. Judging by these remarks of the so called “Senior Manager”, he will have to accept and see through where the “wrong” lies and what action must be taken to correct the situation. It is therefore urgent and necessary to change that “Leadership” immediately. Put in place a CORRECT Leadership and start the CHANGE from the top.

    As regards this dispute in the Cabin Crew Union; has anyone seen what action should be taken as per the Labour Laws provided in the Trade Union Act? It would have been good had that aspect looked into before announcing that the Management is not “recognizing” the Union. Now the Management would be saddled with another problem of handling this “Industrial Action” proclaimed by the Union that is not “Recognized”. Is the Management going to declare it “Illegal” and take appropriate disciplinary action? OR “negotiate” with an “unrecognized” Union?. In any case this is an “industrial Dispute” that has to be tackled appropriately by the Management; if not the “Commercial Operations” will be affected very much resulting in the loss of FAITH by the passengers. It must be born in mind that whenever there is an “Industrial Dispute” ongoing all airlines suffer heavily and recovery is not that easy. That id an inherent feature of this industry called “Air Transport”. Hopefully, irrespective of that “Senior Manager”; the rest of those remaining Senior Managers would be conscious of this DANGER.

    • 1
      8

      I agree with Douglas totally. The main problem here is that These so called senior managers,heads,GMs have no strength to make strong teams. Insecure and my way is high way attitude ruins themselves and the company at large.Strong Managers are stone walled fearing that reality will be exposed and in case the company turns to profits,again these useless lot of Senior Managers will get marching orders. Talking of cabin crew if they are happy your customers too will be delighted,but as usual these top brass has messed up everything that they put their hand in.You cannot insult and threaten people especially when you don’t know your wicket.Soon this Govt. and the appointed friends will realize the lessons learned carry a high cost,it could cost the UNP their God given last chance too.

  • 7
    0

    The Rajapakse Ragime Ruined this Airline by using the Airline , their resources as if their own family property , where were you then, Mismanaged Robbed the airline to high heavens with the YES men who call them selves qualified , who licked their Top management day in day out without any shame are still there, This Article and the comments made by the Public shows how fratrated and envy the writer and the Public are towards the Crew. This is not a New thing Typical Sri Lankan mentality Jealousy frustration to the highest level . Harry Jayawardena and Emirates ran this Airline with Pride and Profit. Now what has happen is some have woken up from a deep sleep.

  • 1
    15

    During the Malinda rajapaksa government the airline were running in most efficient manner. without any industrial disputes and the staff and customers were happy

  • 8
    0

    Reading the 02 actions agreed upon,

    1) refuse to fly on off days; perfect, refuse to do it.
    The carrier must ensure minimum crew requirement or offload passengers to meet the min rqrmnt or cancel the flight.
    Remember as crew members you too will be effected and lose out on your allowances. ‘Losing’ hurts.

    2) cut down on in-flight products sold; do this too.
    You can pick and choose the products you want to sell based on the incentives bn offered to you by the supplier. As an ancillary product, in the big scheme of things, the airline can take the hit.

    I hope this group within the Union read what Douglas has to say.
    He’s been there, done that. Tread carefully, as an unrecognized group within the FAU you could all end up losing your jobs. Now that will be a big ‘Loss’ for you.

    On a different note, what grateful times you live in, you ‘can’ take trade union action. Under the previous regime, you would have been turfed or worst.

    Soyez prudent.

    Best wishes.

  • 1
    2

    Sri Lankan air line and tourism is myth lot of tourists comes on charter flights.

    I urged not only the cabin crew the rest join in and close off the air line.privatise the ground handling and catering.

    Now the orther air lines touching down Colombo anyway.

    The middle east air lines are cheaper than air lanka lot of people dosent mind the fair thinking helping out the national carrier.

    But can’t deny the fact these crews are smatr when they walk through the aisles.

  • 7
    0

    Stop all these nonsense ,do your job as per your contract.air line cabin crew are over paid.

  • 7
    0

    Under normal circumstances, a union is there to fight on behalf of its members. But now ironically, the members have to fight for the existence of its union. I’m saying it again; the union leaders are a bunch of NINCOMPOOPS. Like our Sampur chief minister.

  • 8
    0

    Sack them ALL, sack them all, the long and the short and the tall !

  • 4
    0

    The Cabin Crew its best that you do not listen to the Union top Brass as the airline is plunging and up for takes and the guys and gals who now resort to TU Action will be first on the firing line.
    There are thousands waiting to take your places so just call it off and go to work. Changing the Chairman and CEO is not your concern it is the authorities who decide on that,
    So before you start shedding tears act wisely AND I REPEAT JUST CALL IT OFF

  • 1
    2

    Having read all of the above comments I must say it is not for the management to seek justification regarding the legitimacy of the FAU its the Labour Dept that should seek justification and if the Labour Dept has accepted the FAU as a legitimate union the management has no say. Why is the management penalizing the crew because of the mistakes of the previous regime? They should take the previous regime to task and not the employees of the SriLankan Airlines to task. All decisions were made by politicians and the management not by the employees of the Airline. As such I think it is totally unfair to always put the blame on the employees of the Airline instead of the politicians and the so call good management. Hand over this Airline to Harry Jayawardena and I am sure he will do a dam good job.

  • 1
    0

    The first thing the union should do before resorting to industrial action is compel the management to recognize them either through courts of law or through the labour dept.

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