Colombo Telegraph

SriLankan Airlines: ‘No Confidence’ – Pilots Guild Reports HR Head To Airline’s Chairman And Board Of Directors

Captain Ruwan Vithanage the President of the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka has reported SriLankan Airlines‘ Head of Human Resources Pradeepa Kekulawala to the national carrier’s Chairman Ranjith Fernando and its new Board of Directors stating that they have no confidence in him, Colombo Telegraph learns.

APGSL President Captain Ruwan Vithanage

The APGSL had earlier reported HHR Pradeepa Kekulawala to the ongoing Presidential Commission of Inquiry and had provided a dossier of information alleging malpractices committed by the airline’s HHR Kekulawela.

The APGSL was recently summoned yet again by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to provide further evidence pertaining to the airline’s Human Resources Head.

However prior to submitting further evidence, the APGSL President Captain Ruwan Vithanage tendered a letter to Chairman Ranjith Fernando and the Board of Directors stating that they had been summoned to meet officials of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

The letter provided to Chairman Fernando and the Board of Directors of the national carrier stated 12 reasons as to why they had no confidence in HHR Kekulawala and further sought their assistance to conduct an investigation into the much tainted HR Head and his alleged committed malpractices.

The APGSL President Captain Vithanage’s letter stated that his Executive Committee could substantiate all allegations that were made against HHR Kekulawala.

APGSL President Captain Vithanage’s allegations against HHR Kekulawala ranged from several malpractices such as the controversial Collective Bargaining Agreements signed between the airline and its unions, allowance disparities paid between Pilots and Cabin Crew, terminations, deprivation of staff travel benefits to pilots on reservation or at check-in, disparities in employment contracts of pilots, among other factual issues.

HHR Kekulawala whose basic salary was reported in a RTI report to be Rs 998,004, responding to Captain Vithanage’s letter sent him the email found below using his mobile phone.

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On Aug 23, 2018, at 15:35, Pradeepa Kekulawala – HHR <xxxx@srilankan.com> wrote:

On Aug 23, 2018, at 15:35, Pradeepa Kekulawala – HHR <xxxx@srilankan.com> wrote:

Dear Capt Vithanage,

Your mail below addressed to the Chairman and Board of Directors stating that you are going to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry is noted.

Firstly, I completely reject the accusations, insinuations and the baseless allegations you have made therein.  I take this not by any surprise since this is not the first occasion where the Pilots are engaged in a personal attack against me with baseless allegations and as such, I consider the email below is another malicious act on the part of the Pilots Guild in a series.

Secondly, I wish to categorically state that none of the decisions affecting the benefits of particular employee groups in any form have been decided by me singularly.  It has either been a collective senior management decision and / or a decision backed by Board approval or ratification.  I have been the communicator of good and bad news on many occasions, but it does not necessarily follow that decisions have been taken by me.

I wish to categorically state that there has not been malice on my part towards the Pilots or any employee group.  It is very important to highlight that it is only the Pilots’ Guild which represents 320 employees out of 7000 employees, which is less than 10% who seems to have a problem with me.  None of the other employee unions which represent the majority of the employees of the Airline have any issues with me and we maintain a very good working relationship.

As the allegations you have levelled against me are baseless, vexatious and motivated by a personal vendetta against me, I will not go into detail to defend myself in this letter since you are going to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry and at the appropriate forum I would clarify matters and prove your allegations as baseless.

I must also emphasize that the job role of Head of Human Resources is not the most popular job of the company and an objective professional cannot always please all employees.  He has to be fair by all stakeholders.  Having joined the company competitively through the due process as the Head of Human Resources 08 years ago, I have continued successfully so far as I have always done the right thing towards the Company.  The respective Chairmen, Boards of Directors and the leaders of the governments recognized that fact which is the reason for my continuity in the job.

I conclude stating that I give leadership to the entire HR professionals of the country as President of the Association of HR Professionals elected by its membership for the 2nd year.  I am also a stakeholder in human resource development initiatives of this government as a senior industry professional.

Careful perusal of your mail clearly indicates that most of the points revolve around benefits of Pilots other than anything else.  It must be stated that one cannot always look at benefits of a particular employee category but there has to be parity all around and affordability.  Please be good enough to come for a meeting / discussion should you have issues to resolve, matters to clarify and grievances to air.  My doors are and have always been open to any employee category as you are very well aware.

Best Regds – Pradeepa

Sent from my iPhone

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Responding further to HHR Kekulawela’s email the APGSL sent him the following email

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From: Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka <xxx@gmail.com>

Date: August 24, 2018 at 09:08:19 GMT+5:30

To: Pradeepa Kekulawala – HHR <xxxx@srilankan.com>

Cc: Chairman <xxx@srilankan.com>, xxxxx

Subject: Re: PCoI summons and No Confidence in Mr. Pradeepa Kekulawala – HHR

Dear Mr. Kekulawala,

The contents of your reply to us in response to our letter addressed to the Chairman and Board of Directors is noted.

At the outset, we wish to state that the purpose of including you in the original mail as a copied recipient was to maintain transparency and integrity in our communications and not to initiate a debate with yourself or give you notice of our summons to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry.

As you have addressed the correspondence to me copied to the Chairman and Board of Directors, I am compelled to respond to what’s relevant to our letter in your correspondence and not to your personal opinions of your achievements, affiliations or recognition you have had with Chairmen, Directors and leaders of Governments.

I wish to categorically state that the ALPGSL refutes your deflection of our letter to the Chairman and Board of Directors as a malicious act of exercising a personal attack against you. We consider it would have been more prudent and transparent of you as a HHR, if you had encouraged the Chairman and Board to have asked us to justify each fact that was stated as offered in our letter rather than dismissing it at the onset as mere fiction and a personal attack on you.

You go on to state that “most” of our letter highlights benefits revolving around the Pilots. We wish to emphasise that with regards to those “benefits”, what we have highlighted is your incompetence in understanding and maintaining industrial norms and best practices within the employee segments in an Airline. It is not with reference to any benefits sought by us.

It should be clearly understood that despite your claims that all decisions were made collectively, it does not absolve you of your individual responsibility and accountability to what you have signed.

Whilst we take note that you have not offered any elaborations on the other issues which are not related to “benefits” it is our opinion that the rest of your other diatribe only serves to substantiate our views and opinion of you; which has been placed on record for the perusal of the current Chairman and Board.

It is earnestly hoped that the Chairman and Board of Directors will initiate an inquiry to what has been stated by the ALPGSL, and we reiterate that we can substantiate the contents of our letter and also further elaborate on our perspective on the contents of your response that may not have been addressed here.

As the ALPGSL has clearly intimated our stance with regard to your questionable conduct and our opinion of you, we trust that you will agree that there is no reason for any further correspondence between us in this regard.

Regards,

Capt. Ruwan Vithanage

President – ALPGS

HR Pradeepa Kekulawela was summoned by the CID for several hours on Thursday the 6th September 2018.

He has been summoned to be questioned further.

Meanwhile a commentator named Masha writing a comment under the recently published story titled  “SriLankan Airlines: Hushed Up ‘Human Smuggling’ Case Resurfaces” stated “Totally agree with you as I also know very well how he mange the HR department. Some points to ponder,

  1. Who is the manager in charge of disciplinary management jn HR? She is yasitha, a woman who cant handle to speak a sentence in proper English but has a MBA sponsored by her engineering big shot lover boy.

Head of HR is numb for this as the engineering fellow is highly politically connected.

  1. People who acted smart in the department especially ladies who did not want to have any personal relationship with hhr were harassed so badly and that valued labour has left the company.

3, the lady lover dulari is about to be promoted to grade 10 any moment for analysing his personal agendas on a daily basis and (you know what I mean) and Consuming money from the training budgets handle.

  1. Employing and promoting friends daughter hansini overnight from intern to executive and company stylist’so daughter shashya for executive position while she is just 22 years old. Etc, etc.

The money he has wasted,

  1. Having huge management trainee graduations at five star hotels when there are ample auditoriums in the company so that he can misuse the money and reserve a room at the particular venue for his personal agendas with training analysis madame.
  2. The enormous money he has spent for IATA International gathering in sri lanka in the year 2013
  3. His duty trips overseas with manipulated bills to claim money back from the company. His secretary is well aware of these…

The list can go on and on…. simply he is a rogue who should be sentenced”. 

( By Jacqueline Senanayake )

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