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News


CEB 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 Chairman.

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anyone knowledgeable in CEB and apparently against government policy, as disclosed by the cabinet spokesman, be withdrawn.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.

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