A group of 300 plus Flight Attendants of SriLankan Airlines are scheduled to congregate at the premises of their In Flight Services office in Katunayake today, in protest of their flight schedule rosters being manipulated, plus to put an end to the notorious corruption enforced by the airline’s Crew Scheduling Department.
Members of the Flight Attendants Union, especially all Flight Attendants off on the day will also be protesting that none of them will help out the airline by flying on their off days until this issue is resolved.
The airline over the last year was helped immensely by its existing Flight Attendants who flew continuously on their off days and helped the airline save a whopping sum of US $ 8 million by helping to juggle its operation.
This ploy enforced by the airline over the years to maintain an under staff requirement has now finally taken its toll.
Flight Attendant Union members who have had enough of being bounced around by the airline’s management as well, have now decided to take this stance.
A member of FAU speaking on the condition of anonymity as she is barred from speaking to the media told Colombo Telegraph “Nalaka de Soyza the Manager Crew Scheduling has now decided to reduce our standard 12 hour stand by duty to 6 hours, due to the maintenance work carried out at the airport over the next three months. By reducing the standby hours he is merely extending our duty times, if in the event we get called out on stand by to operate any flight. We have had enough of this nonsense. Our lay over flights, majority of which is to the Gulf, have now been stopped. Even our lay over in Singapore is stopped. They have one rule for the pilots and one rule for Flight Attendants. Our CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte who boasted of being a Crew Resource Management (CRM) specialist, does nothing about it. When he was at Emirates Airline he jolly well adhered to CRM principles that were enforced there. Mind you during his brief stint as the Manager CRM at Emirates, even he enforced certain rules to be applied then. The Pilots and Cabin Crew at Emirates Airline during his tenure always met at every pre – flight briefing, traveled together in the same crew transport and always stayed in the same crew hotel on lay overs. Now he suffers from amnesia after rejoining SriLankan Airlines. Attempts by our FAU President Sakvithi Senadheera to contact our airline’s Head of Service Delivery Chanaka Olagama to resolve this matter was not possible, as Olagama avoided answering his phone calls “.
The airline’s ploy of paying extra monies to Flight Attendants to fly on their off days in order to continue in not recruiting the required cadre, has also largely encouraged corruption within the Crew Scheduling Department headed by Nalaka de Soyza.
With an inefficient Crew Scheduling system named ‘Sabre’, where millions are paid monthly for the usage of its programme, Crew Scheduling Officers on duty have been known to demand monies, gifts and other benefits from Flight Attendants in order to manipulate crew flying rosters. It has become a common secret that Flight Attendants are asked to bank colossal sums of monies in Crew Scheduling Officers’ personal accounts, purchase perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes in exchange for favours.
“A planned roster issued at the beginning of the month looks fine on paper. However one needs to look at the completed rosters of the crew to find out the jugglery that has taken place during the month. Even the Manager Crew Scheduling Nalaka de Soyza’s wife’s roster is completely different at the end of the month, as opposed to what was printed at the beginning. There are other crew scheduling officers who are married to Flight Attendants too. Check their rosters and you can identify the nonsense these guys get up to. Don’t forget to check their bank account details too” said another member of the FAU.
Meanwhile somewhere in the year 2004, a leading airline in the Gulf got their Group Security Department to monitor and tap the telephone lines of their Crew Scheduling Department for over a month. The recorded details of many of the conversations that took place between their Crew Scheduling Officers and Crew, eventually resulted in the termination of services of many staff for manipulation and corruption.
Perhaps a similar investigation needs to be carried out at SriLankan Airlines too.
All attempts to contact Sakvithi Senadheera the President of the FAU for a comment proved futile, as he was away on flight duty to the Gulf city of Doha.