engineers take on Chairman, warn of tough action
The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) has warned
Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne that it would resort
to strong trade union action unless the government meets its
demands within two weeks from April 25.
The warning was issued after the CEBEU requested the Minister to
intervene and resolve the differences between the CEB Chairman
Udaya Kariyawasam and the management.
In a letter addressed to the President, CEBEU stated that the
Chairman was not a responsible person to handle a multibillion
rupee organisation and that he had also failed to improve the
financial stability of the CEB.
“The Chairman has miserably failed to change the CEB and has not
even taken an effort to work cordially with the management and
the engineers,” the letter pointed out.
It further said that the Union had reached its peak of tolerance
and it did not want the CEB Chairman to jeopardise the future of
its members. It also put forth 11 demands to the Minister, to be
met within two weeks. In the event the demands were not met, the
union warned it would resort to trade union action.
The demands stated that the general manager should be present at
board meetings and such board meetings should only be held once
a month – not according to the whims and fancies of the
The union also demanded the Minister’s immediate withdrawal of
an order issued by the Chairman to construct a 33 kilowatt power
line, which allegedly violated all accepted procedures.
The union also requested that the Chairman should not support
any political party and called on the Minister to take steps and
instruct the Chairman to remove all unprecedented posters and
banners within the CEB premises.
The letter demanded that the Chairman replace the board’s new
telephone lines, which are operated by a private telephone
company, with the old lines and queried the purpose of
installing new phone lines from a private telephone company.
The demands included that the ad hoc advertisement published by
the Chairman inviting technical proposals for the ‘Nuclear Power
Generation Study Project’ and request to submit the proposals to
the ‘personal assistant to the Chairman,’ disregarding the
accepted institutional procedures, without consulting anyone
knowledgeable in CEB and apparently against government policy,
as disclosed by the cabinet spokesman, be withdrawn.
The demands further stated that the government should ensure
that there would be no change in the management structure of the
CEB in an ad hoc manner, without an adequate consultation with
the CEBEU and CEB management.