In an email sent to all staff last night SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias confirmed that the Ground Handling Operations of the national carrier would be handed over to the Airport & Aviation Services of Sri Lanka Limited.
Elaborating further Chairman Dias stated that a decision had been taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management that SriLankan Airlines Ground Handling Operations at Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake is to be transferred to Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited.
Whilst stating that he was conveying a message on behalf of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, he further mentioned that even the Cargo Operational Staff of the airline working at the Colombo Airport will also be transferred. The letter went on to further state that employees remuneration, privileges, gratuity, other statutory payments and entitlements will be continued to be paid by their new employer.
Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS), the union representing Ground Staff will be picketing in the airline’s premises this morning, seeking to obtain more than 4000 staff signatures. They intend submitting their collective protest to President Maithripala Sirisena.
It is reported that the SLNSS has even called for a press briefing today.
All other unions within the airline will also congregate in support of their ground staff colleagues barring the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka who has opted to keep away.
Meanwhile even the unelected group of Flight Attendant Union (FAU) members headed by Flight Purser Adrian Cramer is expected to extend their support to this cause.
A union member of SLNSS speaking on condition of anonymity as he is barred from speaking to the media said “It is quite sad that our Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to make our airline suffer a slow but natural death. This is besides Airport Ground Handling Operations making huge profits despite the airline being mismanaged by those in power. During the tenure of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the airline was handed over to Emirates Airline for a period of ten years between 1998 – 2008. However the airline was never broken up like this.Very soon even the other two profit making departments Engineering and Catering will be also handed over in similar fashion. We are certain that one of the current Director’s has already got his foot into the Catering Department. He will pocket that business for sure. Looks like the writing is now on the wall for all of us and eventually our national carrier will end up been defunct. So this is what yahapalanaya is all about finally and this is sadly the change we all voted for. We were fooled by them then as they wanted our votes and now we are made to feel like real idiots for trusting this bunch of jokers”.
We carry below Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias’ Email to all staff.
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 7:49 PM
Subject: GROUND HANDLING OPERATIONS
To: All Members of Staff
There have been recent reports on a decision made by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management whereby, the Ground Handling operations at BIA, Katunayake, handled by SriLankan Airlines is to be transferred to Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited.
I have been informed by the Hon. Prime Minister today, that the modalities of the above should be as follows:
1) A new Company will be incorporated for Ground Handling.
2) All employees of SriLankan Airlines who are involved in ground and cargo handling at BIA, will be transferred to this new Company. Their remuneration, privileges, gratuity, other statutory payments and entitlements will be continued by the new Company.
3) All assets and liabilities (if any), in respect of ground handling, will be transferred to the new Company.
4) It is envisaged that Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited will take up part of the equity in the new Company, which will result in a joint venture between AASL and SriLankan Airlines in ground handling operations in the future.
The Hon. Prime Minister has requested me to circulate this message to all members of staff to allay their fears and uncertainty of their future.