The Executive Association of SriLankan Airlines joined their colleagues from the Airline Pilots Guild Association of Sri Lanka, when they too submitted a letter to the national carrier’s Chairman Ranjith Fernando, stating that they have no confidence in the airline’s Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawala.
This was after HHR Pradeepa Kekulawala addressed a letter to the Pilots Guild and reiterated that only the APGSL had an issue with him. The APGSL President Captain Ruwan Vithanage had earlier officially complained about HHR Pradeepa Kekulawala to the ongoing Presidential Commission of Inquiry and also wrote to SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ranjith Fernando and the airline’s Board of Directors stating that they had no confidence in him.
The Secretary of the Executive Association of SriLankan Airlines Lakmal Fonseka, addressing this issue, sent in a letter dated 14 September 2018 to SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ranjith Fernando.
Secretary Fonseka wrote “We would like to state, we have very serious issues and our fraternity is most affected due to unprofessional HR practices and abuse of authority in delivering HR related services during the past few years.”
Requesting to meet their Chairman Ranjith Fernando, the letter stated six points such as “Wide discriminative treatment for employees remuneration towards our fraternity, refusing to sign our CBA, Inaction on employee grievances made to HR, Irregularities in granting staff promotions, Irreparable damage to organization culture through unprofessional HR practices, Irregularities across different segment of staff distributing perks and Unethical transfers of employees and terminations” as reasons for their requested meeting.
A member of the Executive Association speaking to Colombo Telegraph on condition of anonymity said “All other employee unions have protection by signing Collective Bargaining Agreements. Since 2015 HHR Kekulawala has been delaying in signing this CBA with us. Staff are not treated equally and fairly. He has terminated many staff for trivial issues. Staff caught stealing are still retained, as their cases were brushed under the carpet. Staff embroiled in human smuggling cases, gold and foreign currency smuggling are still in employment. Other staff who was involved in INAD (inadmissible passengers) cases were transferred for years without inquiry. Take Captain Udita Dnwatte’s case. They fire him for being accused of being under the influence of liquor. It was a false claim which left the then airline’s Pro Tem CEO Rakhita Jayawardena red faced and embarrassed. Then they apologized and struck a deal with him. HHR Kekulawala offered him the post and rank of Captain in Mihin Lanka and asked him for a letter of resignation from SriLankan Airlines. Then when the two airlines merged they recruited almost all the pilots except Captain Danwatte. These are professional behaviours demonstrated by HHR Kekulawala. He recently said he was innocent as he claimed he was the mere messenger and executioner carrying out orders on decisions made by the higher rung officials of the airline. In fact his inefficiencies in advising the senior management of EPF/ETF matters has even dragged the government of Sri Lanka down the drain. The International Labour Organization has summoned the Government of Sri Lanka to provide show cause and explain in front of all member states as to why the national carrier is not enforcing a valid statutory order given by the Commissioner General of the Ministry of Labour on the 16th December 2017″
Pradeepa Kekulawala has been embroiled in much controversy dating back to the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa led regime era.
He was also named in Lawyer J.C Weliamuna’s report when the airline was investigated for fraud and corruption.
However HHR Pradeepa Kekulawala withstood the barrage of claims made by Lawyer Weliamuna, when former Chairman Ajith Dias dismissed the Weliamuna Report claiming it to be baseless.
Living on to fight another day, HHR Kekulawala who joined the airline in 2011, then went on to upgrade his earnings and remuneration package.